Pune, April 22: A second notice from the Election Commission of India for Sadhvi Pragya Thakur has left not just every sane mind in the country but also people in her own Bharatiya Janata Party, wondering whether it was a big mistake to pitch her against the Congress’ Digvijay Singh from Bhopal in Elections 2019.
Within weeks the candidature of Sadhvi Pragya Singh is eliciting the sort of response that the Bharatiya Janata Party had not braced itself for. The Election Commission has now issued a second notice to Pragya Thakur on her inflammatory utterances regarding the demolition of the Babri Mosque that it has suo moto taken cognizance of as a breach of the Model Code of Conduct.
The second notice comes after her disgraceful remarks against much-respected national hero, ATS Chief Late Hemant Karkare. The second notice has been issued for her inflammatory remarks on her role in the demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya. “I climbed atop Babri Masjid to raze it. I am extremely proud of it,” Pragya Thakur has said openly on interview with television channels.
She has further stated that those who went on to demolish the mosque eliminated a “disgrace to the nation”. “ I am, in fact, proud of it. There were some waste products at the Ram temple and we removed it. See what they have done to the country in 70 years. Even our temples are not safe. The Hindus awakened their self-respect by demolishing the structure and we will construct a grand Ram Temple there,” she said.
The Sadhvi has said on TV, “Ram is the nation, and the nation is Ram. We will build the Ram Temple there. After all we had gone to demolish it. I stood atop the structure and demolished it.”
The Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer, VL Kantha Rao, on basis of her interview to TV channels has taken suo moto cognizance of a breach of the model Code of Conduct and has issued a second notice to the BJP’s Bhopal candidate, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur.
Not having learnt a lesson from her initial attack on one of the martyrs of the Mumbai bomb attacks, ATS chief Hemant Karkare, the controversial Sadhvi has now opened another can of worms by admitting she was part the demolition of the Babri mosque.
Eight former DGPs of Police have issued a joint statement condemning remarks against Ashok Chakra awardee Hemant Karkare by Pragya Thakur but no action has been taken against her so far.
Pragya had said on record that after being arrested by Karkare for her role in the Malegaon blasts, she had “cursed” him and it was her cure that lead to his untimely death. The statement has nationalists up in arms against her utterances.
While it may not be illegal to nominate someone undergoing trial for the murder of six people in the Malegaon blasts and injuring over 101, it is quite unethical. As if her candidature wasn’t enough to raise a storm, her controversial remarks are creating a situation that is definitely not being seen as conducive to the BJP in the present election scenario.
In Mumbai, Tuesday will see people gathering to express solidarity with Ashok Chakra awardee and hero of the Mumbai blasts Hemant Karkare. “It is a disgrace that people can run down our national hero who laid down his life in the line of duty by such people for their vote politics. We have to take a strong stand that this will not be tolerated,” say the organizers of Tuesday’s march.
The BJP has asserted that Pragya Thakur was ‘framed’, the special NIA judge has framed charges against her based on two facts. Firstly, the motorcycle used for carrying out the bomb blast – in fact, the one on which the bomb was installed – was owned by her. Secondly, witnesses have stated that there was a meeting in Bhopal on April 11-12, 2008, to plan the blast and Thakur was a part of this meeting.
All this was a part of the investigation done by the ATS Maharashtra under late Hemant Karkare, and the probe was later transferred to the National Investigation Agency.
More importantly, an appeal against her bail is pending before the Supreme Court and she has repeatedly exempted herself from attending the trial on the grounds of ill health. Clearly, she is fit enough to contest an election but not to attend court. Considering that one of her bail conditions was to regularly attend court, this would be grounds for cancellation of bail.
Addressing party workers in Bhopal on Thursday, Thakur had claimed that Karkare inflicted the worst kind of abuses and torture on her while she was in custody in connection with the Malegaon blast case and that the officer died due to her curse.
Pragya Thakur had said that Hemant Karkare committed an “anti-national” act by falsely implicating her in the Malegaon blasts case and keeping her behind bars without evidence. “It was treason. It was against religion,” she said.
“He tortured me and subjected me to harsh abuse which was unbearable. I told him he will be destroyed…. just over a month later, he was shot dead by terrorists,” she said.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), led by Karkare, had cracked the September 2008 Malegaon blast case and arrested Thakur and others.
Out on bail, Thakur (48) has been discharged by a court on charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act in the case. She is still facing trial under other criminal provisions, including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Six people were killed and over hundred injured in the bomb blast at Malegaon, a communally sensitive textile town in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.