New Delhi: A row has erupted over the inclusion of 2008 Malegaon blast accused and extreme Right-winger Pragya Thakur, an MP representing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), into the sensitive Defence Consultative Committee. Thakur is out on bail, citing health grounds.
It may be recalled that the saffron-clad MP from Bhopal has on several occasions made shocking remarks eulogising Nathuram Godse, the killer of Mahatma Gandhi, terming him a ‘patriot’.
In fact, after her remarks this year led to nation-wide outrage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed her statement as “detrimental to society”.
“Whatever has been said about Gandhi or Godse, these kind of statements are very bad and worth contempt. In a cultured society, this type of language is not permissible… Though she has apologised, I won’t be able to pardon her with my heart,” he had said.
But it now seems that she has been pardoned by the topmost echelons of power in the country. For, the Malegon blast accused has been nominated in the 21-member parliamentary panel headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The committee often discusses issues that are confidential and classified in nature, especially with regard to the country’s security.
It may be noted that Thakur, 49, faces multiple charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) as well as under the Indian Penal Code, The Arms Act and the Explosive Substance Act, says an NDTV report. The blast left about 6 people dead and injured over 100 people after a bomb placed on a motorcycle exploded.
The Congress lashed out at Thakur’s inclusion in the parliamentary defence panel, terming it as in “insult to our nation’s defence forces.”
"Pragya Thakur, a terror accused & Godse fanatic has been nominated by the BJP govt. to be a member of the Parliamentary Panel on Defence. This move is an insult to our nation's defence forces, to our nation's esteemed parliamentarians & to every Indian," the Congress said in a tweet on Thursday morning.
Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan also took pot-shots at the BJP-led Central government. In a tweet, he wrote: “Nominated to Parliamentary Panel on Defence. Modi said he couldn't forgive the Malegaon blasts case accused after she termed Nathuram Godse a 'patriot'. But of course a terror accused is the most suitable person for deciding country's defence
Nominations to the consultative committees are decided by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and not by Parliament itself.
According to NDTV, which has published a notification dated October 31, according to Thakur has been nominated in 21-member panel, which includes detained National Conference leader and former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, BJP leader JP Nadda among others. Incidentally, Abdullah has not been able to attend the Lok Sabha, leading to protests by the Opposition parties.