The General Election of 2019 is not merely an electoral battle but a war for the very soul of Indian civilization. The outcome of this election would decide the future of India for generations to come. The stakes and the nature of this battle are perhaps nowhere starker than in Bhopal constituency of Madhya Pradesh, where BJP has fielded Sadhvi Pragya, a victim of Congress’ “Hindu terror” narrative, against Digvijaya Singh, the proponent of the same “Hindu Terror” narrative.
Sadhvi Pragya was one of the persons to be accused of Malegaon blasts in 2008 that was caused by LML Freedom motorcycle with explosives concealed inside. The investigation by Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) led the ownership of the motorcycle to Sadhvi Pragya. Altogether overlooking the fact that she had sold the bike four years ago, Congress went on to accuse the Sadhvi by coining terms such as “saffron terror” and “Hindutva terror”. Congress heir, when asked about the danger Lashkar-e-Taiba’s activities pose in India, replied that the risk of a “homegrown extremist front”, was the one that “demanded constant attention”.
Sadhvi Pragya, before being formally arrested was brutally tortured in illegal police custody for 23 days at the pretext of being interrogated by the ATS.
“I was beaten severely with a belt on my hands, forearms, palms, feet, soles, causing me bruises, swelling, and contusions in these areas. I was hung upside down, and they kept on beating me until I fainted. In addition, I was subject to vulgar abuse and obscene language by members of the ATS team interrogating me. My Guru was abused and my chastity was questioned. I was physically and verbally traumatised to the extent that I wanted to commit suicide. As a result of the custodial violence/torture, mental stress, anxiety that were developed in the process, I was subjected to, I developed acute abdominal and kidney pains. I lost my appetite, became nauseous and giddy and prone to having bouts of unconsciousness,” Sadvhi Pragya recounts her horrific treatment.
Along with the fact that she was not allowed legal representation, she was also illegally subjected to a series of psychological profiling, brain mapping and polygraph tests, which yielded no results. After being disappointed by the results, the ruling party at that time, in an effort to somehow implicate Pragya, conducted narcotics tests which again came out to be negative. The tests, which were conducted before her formal arrest and without her lawful consent, conclusively established that she was being truthful as to her non-involvement in the terror attack. The goal of the interrogation was to somehow make her confess the crime but Pragya honorably held her ground. Nevertheless, she was arrested.
After 9 years of being imprisoned without evidence, she was released in 2017 when the HC held, “There was no prima facie case against her”, after the BJP government took note of her plight. So severe was her torture, she has been rendered a cripple, paralysed from the waist down and developed breast cancer. Moreover, she has lost all her reputation as the society at large, influenced by Congress’ conspiracy has labeled her as a terrorist.
Amongst all the gruesome torture, the name of ‘Digvijaya Singh’ surpasses all others’. Singh has long held a grudge against the RSS and, clearly evident from his statements such as, “I have no hesitation in saying that all Hindu terrorists who have been caught have links with the RSS but it must be explained as to why all of them had links with the outfit.” Furthering the stance, he stated, “RSS spreads violence, hatred and propagates terrorism.”
Digvijaya Singh, due to his bias and prejudice towards RSS, had a huge role to play in the narrative of ‘Hindu terror’ that led to the torture of Sadhvi Pragya. She was an ABVP activist, the student organization affiliated to RSS. He was in touch with the late Hemant Karkare (one of the officers who beat Pragya mercilessly) to be kept updated on the investigation, exchanging confidential information. Singh although had no authority to do so, given the fact that he was neither the central home minister or had anything to do with law and order in Maharashtra.
“Digvijaya Singh used the ATS to settle his enmity with me,” narrated Sadhvi Pragya, during her interview at Aap Ki Adalat. The family blames him for “Assassinating Pragya’s character and ruining their lives”
Digvijaya Singh has now launched his campaign in Bhopal by calling himself “A Hindu”. Senior BJP leader Raghunandan Sharma has said, “A person who coined words like Hindu Atankvad (Hindu terrorism) can never be pro-Hindu or a nationalist.”
In response to him, the party wants Sadhvi Pragya to go against Digvijaya Singh. “If it’s about taking on someone who calls Hindus terrorists and speaks against the nation, I am ready. His (Digvijaya) statements give strength to enemy countries. It’s not my wish, but I think people want me to enter politics. And, if the Sangthan wants me to contest, I am ready,” Sadhvi Pragya stated.
The constitution states, a person is innocent until proven guilty. However, in Pragya’s case the UPA government did the exact opposite while denying her the basic human rights. Sadhvi Pragya will not only be fighting for the seat, but also for Hindutva at large. The fight will be against an individual, who by advocating “Hindu terror” is tarnishing the name and reputation of one of the most non-violent religions in the world.