Nationwide Outrage Over Pragya Thakur’s Hate Speech in Karnataka

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Leading lawyer and social activist, Prashant Bhushan, said: “The fact that this terror accused was freed and made an MP and now is allowed to freely spew such venom is proof that the rule of law has collapsed in the country.”

Ghazala Ahmad | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Terror accused and BJP MP from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh Pragya Singh Thakur’s remarks on ‘Love Jihad’ and her goading a Hindu gathering to “sharpen and keep the weapons” so they can be used to attack enemies has created an outcry in the country.

“Keep weapons (knives) at home. Keep them sharp. If veggies can be cut well, so can the enemy’s head,” said Pragya Thakur adding her share to the now-established patterns of calling for violence and hatred against Muslims in India.

Addressing a gathering at the south region Hindu Jagran Vedike’s annual convention in Karnataka’s Shivmogga on Sunday, Pragya Thakur said: “Hindus have the right to respond to those who attack them and their dignity”.

Her remarks have kicked up a national furor and triggered an outrage as soon as her video went viral on social media.

“People like Pragya Thakur who instigate hate speeches are ‘agents of anarchy.’ They are working to create a rift among communities which can further lead to civil war,” Navaid Hamid, President of the All India Muslim Majlis e Mushawarat, told Clarion India.

“I am not even amazed to see that the government not only provides impunity to her for her filthy acts but it does not even take cognizance of what she says,” he said.

“It is very unfortunate and disturbing that the State which should guarantee rule of law not only ignores her acts but also provides her impunity by sometimes shutting its eyes and sometimes closing its ears,” he added.

Leading lawyer and social activist, Prashant Bhushan, said: “The fact that this terror accused was freed and made an MP and now is allowed to freely spew such venom is proof that the rule of law has collapsed in the country.”

Imran Pratapgarhi, Congress MP, questioning the Home Minister and the Prime Minister asked: “A terror and bomb blast accused who is roaming freely in the country is instigating people to sharpen their weapons, is Prime Minister and Home Minister listening or not? Will this country run according to the Constitution framed by Babasaheb Ambedkar or with weapons?”

Calling for judiciary to take suo moto cognizance of Thakur’s rant, Rakhi Tripathi, Associate Professor of digital technologies for social issues, said: “An elected MP Pragya Thakur is asking people to keep weapons and kill people. This incident cannot be ignored. The government and the judiciary cannot be mum on this. Action must be taken against her. Else it’s clear that she has state support.”

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said she was not shocked that a BJP MP openly calling for genocide of Muslims and exhorting her followers to sharpen their knives. In Kashmir, merely stating the obvious and truth invites UAPA [Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act], but the government conveniently ignores her statements.”

Several police complaints have also been filed against her in this regard, but the state is yet to take any action.

Tehseen Poonawalla, a political and constitutional analyst, and Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale have filed complaints against the BJP leader, saying she had made “a highly blasphemous and derogatory speech against the minority community.”

“Thakur’s comments made at the event on Sunday ‘were designed’ to incite communal disturbance between different religious communities and create ill-will between different communities on grounds of religion,” Gokhale claimed in his complaint.

Shivamogga Superintendent of Police G.K. Mithun Kumar told reporters that an online complaint has been received but the authenticity of it is yet to be checked to take any legal action.

On Wednesday, Karnataka Police issued a notice to one complainant Poonawala to join the inquiry in the case of his complaint against Thakur.

Madhya Pradesh Congress media department’s chairperson K.K. Mishra told PTI that the Centre should file a case of treason against Thakur for inciting violence.

He said, “She is now talking about a knife after holding a bomb in her hands. The acts of former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and Thakur are the same.”

Congress General Secretary (Communications) Jairam Ramesh said it was a “textbook case” of hate speech and that she “can and must be prosecuted.”

This is not the first time that Thakur has made such controversial remarks in an attempt to create communal rift in the country.

She has been an ardent contributor to pushing the Bhartiya Janata Party’s hate-filled agenda and inciting hatred against the Muslim community.

In May 2019, she called Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a patriot.

She issued an apology following an outrage from the ruling party she is a part of as well as the opposition.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi later said he would never be able to forgive Thakur for her comments but no potential action was taken against her.

In her consistent efforts to bring Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh (RSS) closer to their agenda of making India a “Hindu Rashtra”, in the past she has made comments against former chief of Mumbai’s anti-terrorism squad Hemant Karkare.

Earlier, she had also demanded a ban on burqas for what she said was “for the sake of national security.”

In a television interview accepting her role in the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, she said that she was extremely proud of her role.

Pragya Thakur is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case.

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