Lok Sabha polls: Pragya Thakur takes vow of silence for three days to ‘atone’ for hurting sentiments
Last week, the Bhopal candidate claimed that Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, was a ‘deshbhakt’ or patriot.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader and terror-accused Pragya Singh Thakur on Monday claimed that she is observing silence for three days as a mark of penance for her comments during campaigning for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. She contested the Lok Sabha elections from Bhopal constituency in Madhya Pradesh.
“After election, now is the time for contemplation,” she tweeted in Hindi. “During campaigning, if my words have hurt the sentiments of the country’s patriots, I would like to apologise. To atone for them, I will strictly follow a vow of silence for 21 prahar [around three days], in accordance with the dignity of public life.”
Thakur has stoked several controversies in the last few weeks. On Thursday, she had claimed that Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, was a “deshbhakt” or patriot, in response to actor-turned politician Kamal Haasan’s remark that Godse was independent India’s first terrorist and also a Hindu.
She apologised for the remark the next day after facing a barrage of criticism, both from her own party as well as the Opposition. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday had said he will never be able to forgive Thakur for this. “There is no place for comments like this in civilised society.” Modi had said. “She may have apologised but I will not be able to forgive her with my heart for this.” BJP President Amit Shah also criticised Thakur and asked her an explanation for her comments in ten days.
In April, she had expressed “extreme pride” at her role in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992, and had also claimed that Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare died in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks because she had cursed him.
Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, 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. Several Opposition parties had opposed her candidature and called out the BJP for fielding a terror accused.