Former civil servants demand action against Pragya Thakur over incendiary speech

BJP MP Pragya Thakur has often courted controversy due to her speeches. | TCN Photo

103 signatories of the Constitutional Conduct Group said that BJP MP Pragya Thakur has forfeited the ethical right to be a member of Parliament by her incendiary hate speech and her repeated acts of propagating hate. 

Huneza Khan |

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BHOPAL (MADHYA PRADESH) — In response to the divisive statement made by BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur in the Shivamogga area of Karnataka on December 25, 2022, more than 100 former bureaucrats have written to Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla urging him to take action against the politician. The 103 signatories of the Constitutional Conduct Group sought severe punishment for the Bhopal MP who “forfeited the ethical right to be a Member of Parliament” by her “incendiary hate speech and her repeated acts of propagating hate”. 

Pragya Singh Thakur had remarked to a gathering during the South Region’s annual convention of the Hindu Jagarana Vedike in Shivamogga, Karnataka, “Keep weapons in your homes, if nothing else, at least knives used to cut vegetables, sharp…Don’t know what situation will arise when…Everyone has the right to self-protection. If someone infiltrates our house and attacks us, giving a befitting replay is our right,”. 

Her use of the phrase “Love Jihad” suggested that she was aiming her remarks at Muslims.

“Though Sadhvi Pragya Thakur appears to have cleverly chosen her words to avoid criminal charges being made against her, the disguise is only a thin one. She is obviously fomenting hate against non-Hindu communities and advocating violence against them,” wrote the former civil servants. 

The open letter also expressed concern over the law that forbids conversions, verbal and physical abuse of places of worship, and the denial of livelihood to non-Hindu populations, particularly Muslims and Christians, in an effort to lower their social standing. Additionally, the group referenced passages from two Supreme Court rulings from 2014 and 2022. The letter lauded Shivamogga Police for filing more than one FIR against the MP. 

“We, therefore, urge the Honourable Speaker of the Lok Sabha to take immediate action to refer the matter to the Committee of Ethics of the Lok Sabha for such action as may be deemed appropriate. The very fact that an FIR has been registered by the police against the Member of Parliament for inciting hatred should be ground enough to take action,” the letter reads. 

Notably, an investigation was launched at the Kote police station after Shivamogga District Congress Committee head H.S. Sundaresh filed a complaint. According to police, the case has been registered against Pragya Singh Thakur under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, and race) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs). While responding to the allegations, Pragya Singh Thakur said that her statement was misinterpreted.

Huneza Khan is a journalist from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. She tweets @KhanHuneza