Bharatiya Janata Party MP Pragya Singh Thakur on Thursday claimed that her expunged comment in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday was to protest against the “insult” of revolutionary leader Udham Singh, not Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse.
The Bhopal legislator presented her defence in a tweet hours after the saffron party’s Working President JP Nadda said she will be removed from the consultative defence committee and barred from participating in the parliamentary party meetings.
Thakur’s comments in the Lok Sabha raked up a controversy as it was believed that she called Nathuram Godse a patriot during a debate. A video showed her interjecting when Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP A Raja mentioned Godse while speaking on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill. She said: “You cannot give the example of ‘deshbhakts’ [patriots].”
The remarks were expunged from the Lok Sabha’s records.
“Sometimes the storm of lies is so deep that even the day begins to seem like night, but the sun never loses its light,” Thakur tweeted on Thursday. “People should not get misled by a momentary storm, sunlight is stationary. The truth is just that I was unable to bear the insult of Udham Singh ji yesterday.”
In 1940, Udham Singh had assassinated former Punjab Lieutenant Governor Michael O’Dwyer, who had supported Colonel Reginald Dyer’s decision to fire on unarmed protestors in Amritsar’s Jallianwala Bagh in 1919. Singh was tried and executed by the British.
Thakur’s comments allegedly praising Godse stirred controversy as politicians across party lines condemned it. The Congress asked on Wednesday whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would condemn her comments. On Thursday, the party’s leader Rahul Gandhi said he did not want to “waste time” calling for action against Thakur.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had wondered on Wednesday whether Thakur could remain a BJP MP.
Thakur is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon bombing case, and is facing trial in a National Investigation Agency court. She had referred to Godse as a patriot during the Lok Sabha election campaign as well, but had issued an apology following a barrage of criticism from her own party as well as the Opposition. Modi had later said he would never be able to forgive Thakur for her comments.