Sadhvi Pragya’s electoral battle in Bhopal against Digvijaya Singh symbolises courage and conviction to fight against the concocted theory of Hindu Terror. It may well be the start of a journey for one and the end of a journey for the other
On December 7, 1984, Union Carbide boss Warren Anderson, who had been arrested by the Bhopal Police for the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, was released on the direction of the Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh, Brahmaswaroop. He was flown off in a State plane out of the State and then flew out of the country, never to return.
Senior BJP leader Shri Prabhat Jha and others welcoming Sadhvi Pragya in Bhopal
Readers would remember that a government affidavit in 2006 stated that the leak caused 558,125 injuries, including 38,478 temporary partial injuries and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries. More than 16,000 people died from gas-related diseases. At that time the Congress was in power with Arjun Singh as Chief Minister. Later Arjun Singh was to declare in his memoirs (page 175 in chapter 21 titled The Bhopal Gas Tragedy), “Late in the morning of December 3, 1984, I quietly took off from Bhopal in a plane and landed in Allahabad, about 550 km away. I went to my old school, St. Mary Convent, where with the permission of the principal, I sat in the chapel to pray for the welfare of my people and gain moral courage.” The man who was pointed to as responsible for this escape of the person responsible for this tragedy, later became the Prime Minister of our country. But, neither the CM, nor the one he pointed out to, were accused of being responsible for the gruesome tragedy.
It is this very Bhopal from where Sadhvi Pragya is standing as a candidate for the Lok Sabha elections this year. The presumption of innocence is the legal principle that one is considered innocent unless proven guilty. But in our country, sometimes it seems that this legal principle is binding only if one belongs to a minority religion, or belongs to the Congress party. Why else would every newspaper, media outlet, award winning journalists, even Twitter (in its Moments), claim, “Terror Accused Sadhvi Pragya ….” as their headline to qualify Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur? Sadhvi is facing trial for being an accused in the Malegaon blasts case in which six people died in 2008. She was given a clean chit by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2015. The trial court while refusing to discharge her from the case said it was difficult to accept NIA's claim that she had nothing to do with the crime, given that her motorcycle was used in the blast. The court dropped charges under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against her but continued the charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. In 2017, she was finally granted bail by Bombay High Court after 9 long years of incarceration and torture without any valid proof being attributed to her.
With what is being portrayed as a fight between the face of ‘Hindu Terror’ and the one who coined the word ‘Hindu Terror’ to appease a certain section of the society, we shall see an interesting fight. May Dharma win!
So if you are a Hindu, especially a saffron wearing Hindu, remotely associated with the RSS or BJP, mere accusation makes you a feared ‘terrorist’ who will be biased towards all minorities. This seems to be the narrative attempted to be set by our ‘unbiased’ journalists.
In TV interviews, Sadhvi Pragya had mentioned how she was beaten by policemen (not women police) with leather belts, given electric shocks, threatened and made to watch pornographic content with policemen standing around. As per her family, the police tried to force feed her eggs (she is a Sanyasin), refused initially to allow her home food and even when they did, they only gave her two plain rotis, kept her on just water for more than two weeks, and inflicted so much torture on her that she lost about 20 kg by the end of the initial illegal detention period of 14 days. During her incarceration period, a layer of her lungs collapsed and she had to be put on ventilator for five days. Her spine was damaged due to the continuous beatings and kicks and she was unable to walk. She was also diagnosed with breast cancer, all during her jail term.
While we have heard of Kasab being fed with biryani during his jail term, the above comes as a total shock to general people, and one wonders what the Human Rights Commission was doing. Though Sadhvi was arrested in 2008, the NHRC took up the case only in 2014 after the Government changed. This, despite the family members representing the case to NHRC numerous times. Both Col. Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya have continually stated that they had been abducted and illegally detained and tortured by the ATS team of Maharashtra. In fact, RVS Mani who served as Under Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs from February 2006 to August 2010 has in his book, “The Myth of Hindu Terror”, stated emphatically that Col. Purohit was framed by the UPA Government because he was breaking the back of the groups (like SIMI) who were involved in Islamic radicalisation. He, in fact, blamed Digvijaya Singh and Shivraj Patil for coining the term ‘Hindu Terror’. The entire case built by the ATS had several loopholes, and the NIA in absence of any proof against Sadhvi Pragya, had disposed off all charges against her.
In another case of which she has been acquitted, Sadhvi Pragya was an accused in the murder case of an RSS Pracharak Sunil Joshi. Here too, the local police did not have any witnesses or reliable proof of her involvement in the murder and the Dewas court in Madhya Pradesh acquitted her. Her arrest in this case is surprising in itself when one knows that she has worked with the student organisation Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Durga Vahini, women's wing of the VHP.
With what is being portrayed as a fight between the face of “Hindu Terror” and the one who coined the word “Hindu Terror” to appease a certain section of society, we shall see an interesting fight. It may well be the start of a journey for one and the end of a journey for the other. May Dharma Win!
(The author is a columnist and regular contributor on current affairs, dharma and politics)