India: BJP Candidate off trail after razed mosque comments

2nd May 2019
India: BJP Candidate off trail after razed mosque comments

By Ahmad Adil

 

CHANDIGARH, India (AA): India’s Election Commission [EC] on Wednesday suspended campaigning for the current elections by a ruling party candidate over her comments reveling in the destruction of a 500-year-old mosque, among other remarks.

“The Commission, without prejudice … warns Sadhavi Pragya Singh Thakur not to repeat such misconduct in future,” said the order to suspend campaigning for three days, condemning her remarks. She was banned for violating the Model Code of Conduct by stirring up communal feelings.

The EC added that while Thakur apologised for her comment on Karkare, it found them “unwarranted”. An FIR has also been filed against her under section 188 (disobedience to a public servant’s order) of the Indian Penal Code. “…the Commission has carefully gone through the contents and statements made in the aforesaid reply of Sadhavi Pragya Singh Thakur and found it provocative and also on religious lines that have the propensity of spreading hatred among various communities…,” the order read.

Thakur, named last month by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a candidate for Bhopal in the state of Madhya, is also accused of involvement in the Sept. 29, 2008 bomb blast in Malegaon, Maharashtra, in western India, which killed six people and injured over 100. She is out on bail and facing trail in the case.

According to local media reports, Thakur said Hemant Karkare, then India’s top anti-terror policeman, was killed in the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack because of her “curse” as he had “tortured” her while investigating the Malegaon blast case.

In addition, she said was “proud” of her participation in the 1992 demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, local news agency Press Trust of India reported.

Babri Mosque

In 1885, a Hindu religious body asked a court for permission to construct a temple to honor the Hindu deity Ram inside the premises of the Babri Mosque, said to have been built by Mughal Emperor Babur in 1526. Permission was denied.

In 1949, a group of Hindus entered the mosque premises and installed an idol of Ram there. Declaring the area disputed land, the government placed the premises under lockdown, with the idol remaining inside with one official and one Hindu appointed as stewards of grounds.

In 1986 the local Faizabad administration opened the premises to Hindus, allowing them to carry out their rituals.

In December 1992, thousands of activists from extremist Hindu groups and political parties along with BJP leaders entered the mosque and demolished it, erecting a Hindu temple in its place.

The dispute has been languishing in India’s legal system for years with no final outcome in sight.

Indian’s seven-phase general election started on April 11 April and is set to conclude on May 19.

Additional report from Hindustan Times

[Map of India by US Embassy in India/Public Domain]

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