The remarks of BJP Member of Parliament Pragya Thakur on Sunday, 25 December, at the south region annual convention of the Hindu Jagarana Vedike in the Shivamogga district of Karnataka has courted controversy.
Thakur said that “Hindus have the right to respond to those who attack them and their dignity”. She was speaking about the “killing of Hindu activists”.
Thakur, also known as Sadhvi Pragya, called upon the Hindu community to keep weapons in their homes, at least sharp knives if not anything else.
“They stabbed Harsha (Bajrang Dal activist) and other BJP, Bajrang Dal cadres with knives. So I am saying it very clearly that we (Hindus) should keep weapons at our homes. At least keep the knives used to cut vegetables sharp,” Thakur, an MP from Bhopal, said to a cheering and roaring crowd of Hindutva activists
“You never know what situation may arise. If we can use them to cut the vegetable, we can cut the faces and heads of our enemies as well,” she added.
Thakur is infamous for her communal and inflammatory speeches against minority communities.
Noting that everyone has the right to self-defence, she said, “Don’t know when the situation will arise, but if someone infiltrates our house and attacks us, it is our right to give a befitting reply.”
Meanwhile, Shivamogga Superintendent of Police (SP) GK Mithun Kumar told South First, “We have not registered any case as we have not received any complaint so far.”
The police, however, have the provision to take suo motu action in such cases.
‘They have a tradition of jihad, even in love’
While referring to love jihad, which the right-wing activists accuse Muslims of indulging in, Thakur said, “Love jihad! They have a tradition of jihad. Even if they love, they do jihad in that. We (Hindus) love as well. But we love God; a sanyasi (hermit) loves god.”
Right-wing activists have for years accused Muslim men of targeting Hindu women under the guise of love to convert them to Islam, and deem it “Love Jihad”.
Muslims feign love, deceive, kidnap, and marry non-Muslim women as a part of a broader demographic war in India, according to Hindutva outfits perpetuating the concept of Love Jihad.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs, however, has categorically stated that there is nothing called Love Jihad under the existing laws in the country, and that the Constitution has given everyone the freedom to practise and propagate any religion.
“Protect your daughters and teach them to be sanskari,” Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon bombings, said. The word sanskari translates to “traditional”, but is often used in a different sense in conservative circles.
She added that people who do Love Jihad should be answered the same way. “Sanyasi says in this world created by god, end all the oppressors, and sinful. If not, the true definition of love will not survive here.”
‘Don’t educate children in missionary institutions’
Advising parents against educating their children in missionary institutions, Pragya Thakur said, “It would open the doors of old age homes for you.”
She added: “The children will not be yours and of your culture. They will grow in the culture of old age homes and become selfish.”
She also said: “Pray at your home, read about dharma and shastra, and teach your children about them so that they know about our culture and values.”
Meanwhile, political analyst Tehseen Poonawala said on Twitter on Monday evening that he had filed a complaint with the police regarding Pragya Thakur’s speech.
He also tagged Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in the tweet, while urging the police in Shivamogga to register a case against Thakur in this regard.
I have filed a complaint against #PragyaThakur ji (MP) for the hate speech that she delivered on 25.12.2022 at Shivamogga with the SP shri G.K Mithun Kumar.
Requesting Shivamogga police to kindly register an FIR u/s 153-A, 153-B,268,295-A,298,504,508 (IPC).@CMOkamoto @BSBommai pic.twitter.com/KxNXpYUHS5
— Tehseen Poonawalla Official 🇮🇳 (@tehseenp) December 26, 2022
The Shivamogga SP told South First that he was not aware of the complaint as so far it had not reached him or had been brought to his notice.
The police eventually acknowledged a complaint against Thakur, this time filed by Trinamool Congress national spokesperson Saket Gokhale.
Copy of the complaint to SP Shivamogga as well as acknowledgment from Karnataka Police pic.twitter.com/826ZekUayX
— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) December 27, 2022