Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pragya Singh Thakur on Thursday claimed that she was tortured by officials when she was in jail for her alleged role in the 2008 Malegaon blasts. Thakur, who is on bail, broke down in tears while addressing party workers in Bhopal.
Thakur will contest the Lok Sabha election against Congress’ Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal constituency. Several Opposition parties have opposed her candidature and called out the Bharatiya Janata Party for fielding a terror accused. The father of one of the victims in the blasts on Thursday filed an intervention application before a special National Investigation Agency court, seeking orders to restrain her from contesting the Lok Sabha elections.
“When they took me away illegally, they kept me for 13 days,” Thakur alleged at the meeting with BJP workers as well as later at a press conference, NDTV reported. “On the first day itself, they started beating me. When they used to hit me with a belt, the entire nervous system used to go blank.” She claimed that the police beat her up day and night as they wanted her to confess to being involved in the blast.
“They used to stop only when they feared that now blood would begin to come out from my hands,” she claimed. “They used to bring hot water, mix salt in it and then they used to dip my hand in that so that they become soft and they can beat me again.” Thakur also alleged that the several tests she had to undergo – narco, polygraph, and brain-mapping – gave her cancer.
“The Congress has linked Hindus with terrorism, called them terrorists and harassed a woman,” she added. “I am not recalling my pain before you but all I am saying is that no sister should undergo what I have faced.”
She added that she will provide proof of the torture if Digvijaya Singh wants it. “I don’t say things without evidence. I am a living example of Congress’ conspiracies and illegal activities,” she was quoted as saying. “And if Digvijaya Singh is asking for proof for all this, he will be given proof. I will take my case to the public and even give evidence of my torture.”
Thakur is known for her incendiary comments and speeches and has been associated with the radical Hindu outfit Abhinav Bharat and Durga Vahini, which is the women’s wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
On September 29, 2008, at least six people died and several were injured in two blasts in Maharashtra’s Malegaon town. Thakur has been charged under Section 18 (conspiracy) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other sections of the Indian Penal Code.
In April 2017, the Bombay High Court had accepted Thakur’s bail plea, and had said that the offences alleged against her were grave but it cannot be said that there are reasonable grounds to believe that they were prima facie true. According to a report in The Hindu, the court had also said that Thakur is a woman and had been in jail for more than eight years and was suffering from breast cancer. Her medical reports showed that she had become infirm and could not walk without support, the court had observed.