Praveen Togadia, general secretary of the hawkish Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, World Hindu Forum) was detained in the trading town of Hapur on Tuesday, and put back on a New Delhi-bound train, reported television stations.

Police said the step was taken out of concern that Togadia’s presence could fan sectarian tensions in Hapur, about 60km east of the Indian capital.

Hapur is situated in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where less than a week ago the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) walked out of office after a regional ruling coalition collapsed.

The VHP, perceived to be the ideological mentor of India’s ruling BJP, is accused of lending its support to a drive that led to the demolition of the historic Babri mosque in Uttar Pradesh in 1992 by Hindu zealots.

Tuesday’s move marks the second time the hardline Hindu leader has been kicked out of an Indian town.

Earlier this month, Togadia was banned from entering the eastern city of Patna as he alighted from an aircraft, and was sent back to New Delhi under police escort by the provincial government.

Rights groups and opposition parties have charged the VHP with cranking up its anti-Muslim campaign to woo Hindu votes in elections scheduled to be held in four states later this year.