[dropcap]F[/dropcap]inally, ahead of elections in five major states Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur is acquitted along with seven others by a Diwas local court in the murder case of RSS ‘Pracharak’ Sunil Joshi for lack of evidence. She is pride figure for saffron and right wing organisations. UPA government was under attacked and was brutally criticised after her arrest. However, when BJP came to power in centre and after three years her case was not moved, saffron brigade was disappointed with NDA government. Now looking at the seriousness and survival in state elections perhaps Sadhvi’s release can help in communalising the issue to garner some Hindu votes.
Since her arrest, the term ‘Saffron terror’ was coined to address the other side of extremism. This buzzword is used to describe acts of violence motivated by Hindu nationalism. The acts are allegedly perpetrated by members, or alleged members of Hindu nationalist organizations close to some or the other right wing organisation. However, in some cases the motivation for the acts has not been clearly determined, and in others it has been determined to be unrelated to Hindu nationalism.
Hindu extremist organisations have allegedly carried out terrorist attacks like 2006 Malegaon blasts, Mecca Masjid bombing (Hyderabad), Samjhauta Express bombings and the Ajmer Sharif Dargah blast.
The 2007 murder case of former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak Sunil Joshi was planned a fortnight before by Lokesh Sharma and Rajendra Chaudhary in connivance with Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, states the supplementary chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Elaborating the role of Pragya, the chargesheet says that on the day of the murder, “Pragya was present at Koti Chandi Yagya Dussehra ground at Indore.” She stayed at Indore from December 25, 2007 to January 5, 2008.
It has also been alleged by NIA in the chargesheet that she had held captive Anandraj Kataria, an associate of Joshi, in a flat in Indore for 10 days, after the murder. Kataria was charged by MP police for the murder of Joshi but NIA did not name him. A day after the murder, on Dec 30, 2007, “Pragya called Kataria to a flat and later took him to the residence of late Laxman Singh Gaur. He was held captive since Pragya apprehended that Kataria was immature and if questioned by police he may reveal the facts about the earlier criminal act carried out by late Sunil Joshi and herself, as Kataria was closely associated with Joshi and her as well,” the chargesheet filed before a court in August this year states.
The primary motive behind the murder of Joshi according to chargesheet appears to be sexual advances made by Joshi against Pragya, which did not go down well with Lokesh and Rajender who treated Pragya as sister. Joshi, an accused in Samjhauta and Malegaon blasts was also considered close to RSS leader Indresh but so far the agency have not found any direct link of RSS leader with the blast cases. Initially, the probe had hit a dead-end, but later arrest of a person in Rajasthan led the district police to name Pragya and others as accused in the case.
The trial from the district court was shifted to the Special NIA Court in Bhopal a few years ago. However, the matter was shifted back to the district court on the ground that it was a murder case and doesn’t come under the ambit of NIA, which is an anti-terror agency. During the arrest of Sadhvi, NIA claimed her involvement and now the same agency did not find any evidence to book the accused under sections they were being investigated. The case was again handed over to the Dewas Police in September 2014.
NIA informed the Bombay High Court that it had no objection to the court granting bail to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. NIA investigations ruled out the applicability of MCOCA as the accused were not part of a syndicate who carried out blasts in two other places prior to Malegaon, as claimed by the ATS. Some of the witnesses had complained that they were forced to make statements by the ATS officials and many retracted earlier statements that they had made to the ATS. Considering all this, we (NIA) have no objection to the court granting bail to the applicant. After the NIA took over the investigations from the ATS, it had examined 149 additional witnesses and re-examined 17 witnesses. The ATS told the court that since the NIA had taken over the case, it had no role to play and, therefore, no submissions to make.
Pragya Singh Thakur is a Hindu activist hailing from a small town of Bhind, MP. She is the daughter of an Aryuvedic doctor and is well educated holding a Master’s Degree in History. She became an activist of Durga Vahini, the women’s wing of RSS and then an ABVP activist from 1993 to 2002. She had fiery temperament and is known for her inflammatory speeches. She believes that “Destruction leads to Construction.” She quoted Lord Krishna to justify violent means to overcome injustice.
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