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Opinion | Sadhvi Pragya’s Remarks Are An Insult To Every Soldier Who Risks His Life In The Line Of Duty

It is a shame that the BJP contends her comments emanated from alleged trauma faced by her in the jail.

Bhakts, for the last five years and especially during the last couple of months after Balakot, have been telling us, the common people, that the nation can remain safe only under the “strong” leadership of Narendra Modi. They have been drilling into us the idea that if Modi does not return to power, the country will get balkanised and taken over by Pakistanis.

If we have to go by their statements, no major terror-related incident has taken place in the country after the Bharatiya Janata Party assumed power in 2014, and while doing so, they forget Pulwama, Uri, Pathankot, Udhampur and several other tragedies in Maoist-affected central India. They forget that it was this so-called strong leadership that had allowed the notorious ISI to come and inspect Pathankot.

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This very “nationalist” party which considers it their right to issue certificates of nationalism and patriotism and that threatens to award a visa for Pakistan to all dissenters, has given a ticket to Sadhvi Pragya — a terror accused — to fight Parliamentary elections.

Even before one could have absorbed the implications of her nomination, she came out with a reprehensible remark against Hemant Karkare, a brave policeman who was martyred while fighting terrorists at Mumbai in the terrorist attacks on November 26, 2008. She compared him to “Ravana” and “Kans” and said that he died because of her curse. Such disgraceful remarks against a posthumous recipient of the “Ashok Chakra” — the highest award conferred to a civilian for bravery — militate against the very ethos of Hinduism.

Pragya forgets that the Prime Minister, who was then Chief Minister of Gujarat, had offered to give an ex gratia award of Rs one crore to Mrs Karkare (who with grace refused to accept it) for his sacrifice.

(Photo: Twitter/@PrasunKD)

It is a shame that BJP spokespersons are trying to defend Pragya by attributing the remarks as her personal views and not that of the party. They contend that her comments, perhaps, emanated because of alleged trauma faced by her in the jail. There is justification for what she said but no remorse at her rabid utterance.

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The only conclusion is that what Pragya said is not an isolated remark. What she said is part of a design, and the trend is discernible. Starting from the Prime Minister — his statement about Rahul Gandhi fighting elections from Wayanad because it is allegedly minority dominated — is aimed at dividing the society on communal lines. His speech in another election rally that his party should be voted in for raising the concerns of Hindus about the Supreme Court Judgement in the Sabarimala case is another example of the pattern the Hindutva party has adopted to woo the electorate. The Prime Minister condemning a Congress leader in an election rally for allegedly coining the term “Hindu terror” was the clearest indicator of the BJP adopting a hard Hindutva line to fight these elections. It was the clearest indicator that some divisive personality like Pragya may be brought into the arena to boost their declining prospects because of their utter failure on all fronts. The BJP president and other leaders are also contributing their might to advance this divisive agenda.

sabarimala entry
Sabarimala temple (Photo: Facebook)

As against the aspirational campaign carried out by BJP during 2014, it finds itself facing heavy anti-incumbency just five years after it captured power. This is because it does not have any achievements to show on its part as against the tall promises made.

The unemployment rate is at a 45-year high. There is widespread farmers distress. The economy is on shaky grounds, ruined by the ill-conceived demonetisation drive whose medium-term effects are now being felt. The hastily implemented GST has severely disrupted business. High fuel rates, even though the international prices continue to remain favourable, is another example of mismanagement. Given the difficulties faced by the common man in day to day life, the higher grading achieved in the ease of doing business doesn’t mean anything.

On the corruption front — the central plank of the BJP’s 2014 campaign, which caught the imagination of the public — the record has not been good. Several allegations, ranging from irregularity and favouritism in the acquisition of Rafale jets to claims of the massive increase in the assets of the son of the BJP president Amit Shah, have been working against the BJP’s anti-corruption narrative. This, coupled with the fact that several economic offenders have managed to escape the country under the watch of this regime, makes their claims of providing a clean government sound hollow.

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The BJP is therefore left with no alternative but to arouse Hindutva sentiments by demonising minorities, especially Muslims, to influence the elections. They have thus played what they consider a trump card by nominating Pragya to fight elections.

Pragya’s remarks are an insult to every soldier who risks his life in the line of duty to protect the country. The prospect of having such ungrateful lawmakers in Parliament is terrifying and demoralising for the brave soldiers. This also is a reflection of the depth to which the Hindutva brigade can stoop to, to hold on to power.

Sanjiv Krishan Sood is a Retired Additional Director General of Border Security Force. Having put in over 38 years of meritorious service he has served along all the borders of our country with Pakistan and Bangladesh including eight years on LC, and in the sensitive Samba Sector of J&K. A security analyst, his interests include Border Management, issues of topical interest, the role of security forces in Security Matrix of India, politics and humour. He tweets at @sood_2

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