It is amazing that some well-educated, individuals have stood in defence of Pragya Singh Thakur. They say they are not Hindutva torch-bearers but, in the same breath, allege that the media criticism of Thakur’s statement against martyr police official Hemant Karkare, was a plot to defame Hindus. They ignore the fact that almost all of these critics are Hindus, except perhaps AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi. But these self-styled advocates of Hindu religion are vehement that only those supporting Thakur are true Hindus and rest all Hindus are betrayers of the faith. They are not ready to accept that those holding a different view about Hinduism and Hindu ethos are capable of thinking right and just. They feel that they themselves are the only well-wishers and custodians of the Hindu faith.
This same rigidity and militancy had branded even Mahatma Gandhi as traitor despite the latter being a proud practitioner of sanatan Hindu religion. So ,it will be too much to expect them to view the position taken by the ordinary Hindus not belonging to their ideology as effort to defend their idea of Hinduism. Less wonder then if they look at this criticism as attempt to placate “a particular community”. This is a typical Hindutva arrogance and yet they claim they are not Hindutva supporters. That’s a hypocrisy that comes naturally to them. They have gone so much beyond the fulcrum that it is almost impossible to engage them in a civilized debate.
Having said that it is necessary to evaluate Thakur’s outburst not just critically but clinically. Karkare has been officially accepted as martyr by an elected government. On one hand, Thakur supporters say her outburst against Karkare may not be appropriate and on the other they also say that her allegations against him need to be taken cognisanse of. The contradiction is self-evident. While advising the media to be impartial, they also readily accept what Thakur says as “the” truth. They cite Thakur’s release on bail (being virtually treated as acquittal by them)by court as vindication of her innocence. By the same token, we have to then also say that some leaders acquitted in anti-Sikh riots were falsely implicated and the same goes for Salman Khan also, who was acquitted in a hit-and-run case. Why should this government have re-opened the anti-Sikh riots cases then? The double-speak is so stark that Sanjay Dutt case becomes a big talking point while recovery of huge cache of arms from a Mumbai-based BJP leader recently gets swept under the carpet. And then the Hindutva supporters want us to believe that the Thakur’s release on bail in Malegaon and Samjhauta case should not be seen in the context of the government of the day.
To, kind of, justify Thakur’s anger against Karkare, her supporters also cite a book written by a former bureaucrat R V S Mani that apparently argues that there were deliberate attempts to frame the Hindu leaders in various terror cases. But there are conspiracy accounts from the other side too, which say that Karkare was killed under a conspiracy, for example a book titled “who killed Karkare” by S M Mushrif. Also, there is one by Dhirendra Jha, Shadow Armies: Fringe Organisations and Foot Soldiers of Hindutva, that goes into great details about the alleged conspiracy hatched by Hindutva leaders like Thakur and Aseemanand. The details pertains to places of meetings like Dharmashala of Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain. It also gives details of the discussion among the members of the organisation Abhinav Bharat to which Thakur and accomplices belong. And there is also an insider account by former prosecution lawyer Rohini Salian that she was asked to go slow in the Malegaon case. She has also stated that Thakur was sought to be taken for check-up for cancer but she had refused. For the Thakur supporters to imagine that all these details were imagined and scripted under a conspiracy by a whole lot of individuals only proves that they want to believe in a certain account of the story and simply rubbish every other version.
Clearly, when there are conflicting points, it reeks of a dictatorial streak when Thakur supporters insist on accepting only one side as truth.
They prefer to turn Nelson’s eye to the fact that despite her release on bail, the trial court has already framed charges against her saying there exists prima facie evidence against her. In doing so, they have junked the National Investigation Agency’s submission to the court that there was no evidence against her.
As regards her alleged torture in the jail, the Supreme Court and also the National Human Rights Commission had noted that the allegations were not substantiated by facts. And the Rights body has said this in 2016. So, if the Thakur supporters wish to believe a certain court order, they should also believe the two statutory bodies and say that Thakur was telling a lie, which also means that she is capable of lying even otherwise. Their selective acceptance only shows their bias for Thakur.
In this whole context, it is pertinent to recall the acquittal of eight Muslim men in 2016 in the Malegaon blast case of 2006. Was it an act of appeasement to free them?
It is hard to put the Malegaon case of 2008 against likes of Thakur away as conspiracy as there are tape-recorded conversation intercepts to back the prosecution story. There are many other circumstantial and material evidences on record before the court.
The Thakur supporters, however, won’t budge. For them, the simple truth is Hindus can never turn to terror. So, for them, perpetrators of lynch-mob violence against Muslims in the name of cow, massive social media campaign and street protests to save the perpetrators of brutal rape and murder of a minor Muslim girl in Kathua, etc are not acts of terrorism but a just way to secure justice for Hindus. And, for them, this taking of law into their own hands despite their governments in power is not a betrayal of the Constitution written by Babasaheb Ambedkar, whose name they drop day in and day out to claim how much they respect him.