Sadhvi Pragya: Injecting Terrorism in the Mainstream

Things can get pretty nasty in Politics. As if the hate speeches to polarise votes was not enough, the Bharatiya Janata Party has hit a new low in political-morality (if there is any) by naming one of the prime accused of Malegaon blasts, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, as its candidate from Bhopal.

At times, when the minorities across India are being lynched to death, the ruling party is trying really hard to garner votes in the name of ‘Martyrs’ (Though the word is not accorded officially by the Defence forces).

While the news organizations across the country were still comprehending Sadhvi’s fielding against Congress leader and former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh in Bhopal and how the Hindu-Muslim vote bank can affect electoral results, a statement has put her in the limelight again. To everyone’s surprise, within 48 hours of her announcement Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, has said that,

“Hemant Karkare was killed because I cursed him. “

Karkare was a former Mumbai Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) who died fighting Ajmal Kasab and his partner Abu Ismail during 26/11 Mumbai attacks. He was heading the probe of Malegaon Blasts in which Sadhvi is main accused.

For the party which has claimed to respect and sympathize the personnel of security forces; this statement has proved their utter-hypocrisy. In fact, Prime Minister himself appealed the first time voters to vote for Balakot Airstrikes. He asked whether the first-time voters can vote for the ‘Martyrs’ of Pulgama. Yes, he couldn’t even remember the name of the place where 40 soldiers of CRPF were killed. Pulgama is actually a police station in Lucknow. Considering his track record with factual inaccuracies this ‘Pulgama’ is unavoidable.

But in complete contrast, Sadhvi in her latest speech has said that “I called Hemant Karkare and asked him to let me go if there is no evidence. Karkare said that he will bring evidence but will not leave me. I told him You will be ruined, and later he was killed by the terrorists.”

Hemant Karkare died fighting the terrorists

The statement could not be more disrespectful to the former ATS officer who had a reputation of professionalism, integrity, honesty, and who died while serving his country. He was honored with the Ashok Chakra, India’s highest peace-time gallantry medal, posthumously by then President Pratibha Patil on 26 January 2009. Ironically just a day ago, Sadhvi in a press conference said that “Development can take place only when the country, its borders, are safe,” she further added that those who make anti-national statements end up helping enemy nations.

Who is Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur? What is she accused of?

source: PTI

Currently, out on bail, Sadhvi is the prime accused of Malegaon Blasts in 2008. Born in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh, Sadhvi is a post-graduate in history. She has been actively associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Durga Vahini, women’s wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

On 29 September 2008, six people were killed and over 100 injured when a bomb went off near a mosque in Malegaon in north Maharashtra. The initial investigation directed that it was done by a hardline Hindutva group. A year later, she was arrested in connection with the blast case. Six people were killed and over 100 injured when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon,  Maharashtra on September 29, 2008. It was found out that the blast was allegedly carried by right-wing outfit Abhinav Bharat.

Malegaon blasts, source: ANI

The Indian Express has reported that Sadhvi Pragya was given a clean chit by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) in 2015. This was months after special public prosecutor Rohini Salian told the newspaper that the NIA had put pressure on her to go slow in the case. The court, however, rejected the NIA’s views on Thakur and stated her as an accused under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

In December 2017, the Special NIA court dropped the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act charges against Pragya and other accused in the blast case. She, however, faced trial under the UAPA for conspiring and abetting a terror act, and other charges, including murder and criminal conspiracy. All seven accused, currently, out on bail, have pleaded not guilty. The motorcycle used in the blast is allegedly owned by Sadhvi.

Against Digvijay Singh

Source: PTI

Digvijay Singh, the former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, against whom Sadhvi Thakur is contesting is no stranger to the controversies. His own party has distanced itself from the leader when he said that 2008 Batla House gunfight was ‘fake’. It took place in a crowded Muslim neighborhood in Jamia Nagar.  His own party, which was at power in the center, faced a lot of criticism; this made him a popular figure amongst Muslims.

By fielding Sadhvi against him, the effort of BJP would be to defeat the morale of one of the most powerful leaders by garnering votes in the name of Hindutva. Digvijay Singh himself has been very critical of RSS and has previously used the term “Saffron Terrorism” to call out Hindutva Outfits in the country. Going through an image makeover himself, he has tried to present his ‘Hindu’ identity in front of the public. Calling it a Dharmyuddha (Religious War), Sadhvi has indicated that the elections are going to be a Hindu-Muslim issue again.

Digvijay has been preaching conspiracy theories about the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Even going to the extent of suggesting that the killing of Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare could have something to do with the threats he received from Hindu extremists. And the RSS had a role in 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

BJP seems to have succeeded initially in the pursuit of Hindu identity as the aggressive Congress leader this time had a soft stance and refrained himself from using the word, “Saffron Terrorism” again.

source: The New York Times

The BJP has been winning the Bhopal seat since 1989 and Sadhvi may very well defeat Digvijaya Singh, but her nomination has proved it yet again that the ruling party cares only about winning the elections. Irrespective of the fact that a terrorist might get into the Parliament and corrode the inclusive values of our Democracy. Its a mockery to the justice system and the values of Indian Democracy.

The BJP is making people deliberately believe that there cannot be ‘Hindu Terrorism’ by making a similar remark like Pakistan that there cannot be terrorism within its territory. If there are terrorists in Islam and Sikhism, then there can surely be terrorism in Hinduism.

Sanjay Singh Karki
Sanjay Singh Karki

Reporter and video producer at Qweed. Occasional runner, aspiring to be Ultra Marathon athlete. Always up for conversation provided there is a free CHAI.

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