BJP MP and Terror Acussed Sadhvi Pragya has stirred another controversial remark by referring Gandhi’s assasinator Nathuram Godse as a patriot. But, this isn’t the first time that the newly electedMP has made such polemic; with a long history of controversies to her name let’s trace her history of remarks and that of herself.
“Evil does not arrive from outside our civilization, from a separate realm we are tempted to call ‘primitive, evil is generated by the civilization itself,” writes Michael Mann in his 2004 book The Dark Side of Democracy.
This is not the first time that the Bhopal MP has found her amidst a controversy in her seven months political career.
This game of controversies began in mid-April 2019 when Pragya Singh Thakur official joined the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP). The very next day she was fielded as the party’s candidate from Bhopal against Congress’s Digvijaya Singh. This unique recruitment by the BJP saw a great number of backlashes coming from the Indian political circle. Unique, because it was for the first in Independent India that a political party had fielded a terror accused as a candidate for the Parliamentary Elections. She defeated Digvijaya Singh with a margin of 364,822 votes and won her debut election.
What is her History?
Born to Chandrapal Singh, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker, in the Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh, Pragya Singh has a long association with the Sangh Parivar (an umbrella term, to the collection of Hindu nationalist organisations). She has done her post graduation in history. Durning her student days she was an active member of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the RSS. She has also worked in the Durga Vahini, women’s wing of the Bajrang Dal.
She is one of the prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts which killed nearly 10 people. She was arrested in 2009 for the same. Pragya Singh was given a clean chit by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2015. Special public prosecutor, Rohini Salian had told The Indian Express that the NIA was putting pressure on her to go slow on the case. Though she was given a clean chit by the NIA, the trial court refused to discharge her from the case.
The Sequence of Controversies!
Pragya Thakur is not new to controversies. The Hindu ascetic’s provocative speeches and statements have often made major headlines. She has often referred Nathuram Godse as a patriot.
It was the first time during the run up for the General Elections, when she referred to Godse as a deshbhakt. A disciplinary committee was formed by the then BJP President Amit Shah to probe into the matter, but no adequate action was taken against her. BJP just issued a showcause notice to her and the matter was brought to a standstill. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said he would never be able to forgive her for the remarks. During an interview to the News 24 in May he said,
“Whatever has been said about Gandhiji or Godse, whatever statements have been made in this regard, are extremely bad, in every way worthy of contempt and criticism. Such language and thinking isn’t part of any civilised society, and it can’t be allowed. Therefore, those who are doing this have to pause a hundred times. Though she has apologised, I won’t be able to forgive her in my mind”
During her campaigning she also made a controversial statement about the Late Maharashtra ATS Chief Hemant Karkare who was killed in 26/11 Mumbai attacks. “Hemant Karkare falsely implicated me and treated me very badly. I told him your entire dynasty will be erased. He died of his karma,” she reportedly said.
What did the BJP do?
For all her controversial statements the BJP has distanced itself and asked her to tender a public apology. However, no official action was taken against her by the party. Avinash Rai Khanna – the BJP’s disciplinary committee chair had earlier told The Wire that, his committee had submitted its report and recommendations to the party president but it was up to him to decide what has to be done. “We had submitted the report a while ago but received no word since,” he said. This clearly shows that PM Modi’s claim of never being able to forgive Thakur was just another jumla and it had no meaning behind it.
The biggest irony was when earlier this month the terror accused BJP MP was nominated to a parliamentary committee on defence. The BJP removed her from this committee after her controversial statement on Godse in the Lok Sabha. But the question remains, that why was a terror accused even nominated to a committee which is to look after the nation’s security? Pragya Thakur has not once, but several times referred to the assassin Godse as a deshbhakt. Isn’t this an out-of-line insult to the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi?
2019 is the year when the whole world, including India is celebrating Gandhiji’s 150th Birth Anniversary. It is a matter of utter shame that we have an elected MP who praises Gandhiji’s assassin on regular occasions, and that too in the parliament itself.
In my opinion, Pragya Thakur’s apologies have no meaning behind them. They are just made to bridge over the embarrassment which the Bharatiya Janta Party has to suffer. She is actually not at sorry, but is indeed proud in calling Godse a deshbhakt. She is a proud member of the political mindset of the Sangh Parivar, which even Godse was a part of.
Sahil Kazmi, BBA, Jamia Millia Islamia