Government

Pragya Thakur Nominated to Parliamentary Panel on Defence

Thakur's appointment reflects poorly on the Modi government's seriousness on defence affairs, as the first-time MP has negligible political and administrative experience.

New Delhi: Terror-accused MP Pragya Singh Thakur has been nominated to the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Defence.

According to reports, the Bhopal MP will be part of the 21-member consultative committee, which is headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh.

Singh is an accused in the Malegaon blasts case. She was fielded by the BJP against Congress leader Digvijaya Singh in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year, calling her nomination a “satyagraha” against “false terror cases”.

She courted controversy when during the campaign, she praised Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse as a patriot. Under pressure from the party, she took her statement back.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said her comments were “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.

As The Wire had reported then, despite the prime minister’s apparent stringent comments on Thakur, the BJP has been lenient with leaders who have praised Godse.

Also read: Pragya Thakur’s Remarks Are a Reminder of What BJP is Ready to Put Up With

The BJP said that its disciplinary panel had issued Thakur a notice, but there has been no word on what – if any – action was taken against her. According to a report in The Print, the party’s disciplinary panel has been reluctant to take action against many of its leaders.

In the Malegaon blasts case, Thakur was granted bail by the Bombay high court on health grounds in April 2017. In the September 2008 blasts near a mosque, six people were killed and over 100 injured.

The MP is currently under trial for multiple charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The NIA sought a blanket ban on media reporting on the case, but a special court rejected the application.

Congress goes on the attack

Reacting to the news, the Congress called her nomination the defence panel an “insult to our nation’s defence forces, to our nation’s esteemed parliamentarians and to every Indian”.

The party’s Secretary Pranav Jha called the nomination “ironical”. “Bringing such people, against whom the cases are going in court is not good for democracy. Everything is not guided by the Constitution but some decisions are taken on moral grounds too,” he told IANS.

In a tweet, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “It is unfortunate for the country that an MP accused of spreading terror has been nominated as member of a defence-related committee. Modi ‘has not been able to forgive her from the heart’ but she has been given the responsibility of important issues such as the country’s defence.

“That is why if there is Modi, anything is possible.”

Irrespective of the political debate, the parliamentary panel on defence is one of the most significant groups in parliament. Although the BJP has prioritised national security in its political campaign, Thakur’s appointment reflects poorly on the Narendra Modi government’s seriousness on defence affairs. Thakur is not only a first-time MP but has only negligible political and administrative experience to handle as important a panel as this.