The Hindustan Times – Human Rights Day 2019: Knowing the history and significance

As the UN has been repeatedly calling everyone to “Stand Up for Human Rights,” they have dedicated the year 2019 to celebrate the potential of youth

HT Correspondent

New Delhi – India, 10 December 2019. Every year, Human Rights Day is observed on 10 December. The day was officially adopted in the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

The UN came up with a document called Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which defined the rights an individual should enjoy, despite belonging to any race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Today, this document is available in more than 500 languages.

Human Rights Day 2019 Theme: Youth Standing Up for Human Rights

There is no doubt that youth form the most vocal opinion of all. They shape the country and define the path of progress. As UN has been repeatedly calling everyone to “Stand Up for Human Rights,” they have dedicated the year 2019 to celebrate the potential of youth.

The young generation today, tomorrow and future has the ability to change or amplify their voices, and engage a broad range of global audiences in the promotion and protection of rights.

Human Rights Day 2019 History: What has happened so far

The Human Rights Day was formally adopted at the 317th Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on December 4, 1950. All the member states and other organizations were invited to be present during the declaration of resolution 423(V).

According to UN tradition, on December 10 the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the field of human rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/human-rights-day-2019-knowing-the-history-and-significance/story-7M8Sa87vXTimpgO2uIUV3H.html

The Telegraph – CBI registered 14 cases of economic offences against 18 serving, former lawmakers

The ED has registered 82 cases against the public representatives, he added

New Delhi – India, 09 December 2019. The CBI has registered 14 cases of economic offences against 18 serving and former lawmakers, minister of state for finance Anurag Singh Thakur informed the Lok Sabha on Monday.

“Out of these 18 persons, two are sitting members of Parliament; nine ex members of Parliament; five members of Legislative Assemblies and 2 ex members of Legislative Assemblies,” he said in a written reply.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered 82 cases against public representatives, including former public representatives across the country, under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999, he said.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) (CBIC) has registered three cases of economic offences across the country against public representatives, he said. Of these cases, two cases have been registered against a former MP and one case againsta former MLA, he added.

He further said that these cases presently are at various stages of investigation and the probes are conducted on the merits of cases without any fear or favour.

“Disclosure of details of these cases at this juncture may not be in larger public interest as the same may hamper the ongoing investigations. Further, disclosure of information in respect of specific assesses is prohibited except as provided under Section 138 of the Income Tax Act, 1961,” he said.

In another reply, Thakur said 15th Finance Commission chairman has presented the first report pertaining to financial year 2020-21 to the President of India on 05 December.

“The recommendations made by the finance commission will be examined in the ministry in consultation with various departments and approval of the cabinet will be sought,” he said.

In accordance with the approval of the cabinet, an explanatory memorandum as to the action taken on the recommendations made by the 15th finance commission will be laid on the floor of both the Houses in Parliament during the Budget Session, he said.

Replying to another question, Thakur said against the Budget estimate of Rs 6.63 lakh crore, the net GST collection between April and November is Rs 3.98 lakh crore.

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/cbi-registered-14-cases-of-economic-offences-against-18-serving-former-lawmakers-thakur/cid/1725492?ref=latest_home-template

The Tribune – SAD’s Naresh Gujral differs from party, backs Manmohan Singh on 1984 remark

Aditi Tandon, Tribune News Service

New Delhi – India, 05 December 2019. Senior Akali Dal leader Naresh Gujral today backed Congress veteran Manmohan Singh for his remarks that the 1984 Sikh massacre could have been averted had then Home Minister P V Narasimha Rao heeded late Prime Minister I K Gujral’s advice to call in the Army immediately after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

While the BJP and Akali Dal attacked Singh for the statement made on Wednesday saying he was trying to absolve Rajiv Gandhi of his role in the massacre, MP Gujral hailed the former PM for “speaking the truth”.

Gujral also said there was a “mystery around the level at which the conspiracy to kill the Sikhs was hatched in the Congress”.

“I compliment Dr Manmohan Singh for honestly accepting the truth that then Home Minister Rao and the Congress government of the day were at fault and that the tragedy of 1984 carnage could have been averted had I K Gujral’s advice been heeded.

Rao shirked his responsibility as Home Minister. Otherwise the 1984 Sikh killings would have been 100 per cent averted. Eventually, the killings stopped only after the Army was called in,” Naresh Gujral, son of late PM I K Gujral, said today.

The Rajya Sabha MP said his father accompanied by late Air Force Marshal Arjan Singh and late Kuldip Nayar went to meet President Giani Zail Singh on 31 October 1984, soon after the violence against Sikhs broke out in the capital and urged the President to call in the Army.

“The President told them that he was unable to reach then PM Rajiv Gandhi. Thereafter, Mr Gujral and others drove to the residence of then Home Minister Rao and told him that the violence could escalate unless the Army was called in.

Rao assured them of action, but when no orders were passed until 3 pm that day, Mr Gujral and others again went to see Rao, who was sleeping. They got him to wake up, but he remained non-committal. By then things had gone out of control,” said Gujral.

Terming 1984 killings a “carnage and not a riot”, Gujral said top Congress leaders were involved in mass killings. He, however, added that he didn’t know the level at which the conspiracy to kill the Sikhs was hatched in the Congress.

Gujral’s remarks came when the BJP and Akali Dal directly attacked late PM Rajiv Gandhi for not letting the Army come in to stop the Sikh killings.

“There is a mystery around the level at which the 1984 carnage conspiracy was hatched. It is difficult for me to say. Of course, then Home Minister must have been under orders from someone.

There was a game plan to massacre the Sikhs and play the Sikh card to win elections and the Congress succeeded in that,” Gujral said even as SAD spokesperson Manjinder Singh Sirsa alleged, “Rao deliberately ignored IK Gujral’s advice because he had orders from Rajiv Gandhi to ensure maximum killings of Sikhs.”

Naresh Gujral also said today that the Sikhs were edgy even after Rajiv’s assassination. “Even when Rajiv was assassinated, my father got calls from anxious Sikhs who were wary of the repercussions because nothing was known of the late PM’s killers till then. Mr Gujral immediately spoke to then PM Chandrashekhar who called in the paramilitary and stationed the forces across the capital to avert potential violence,” Gujral said.

He lamented that 35 years after the carnage, victims had not had closure.

It seems simple to me : Narasimha Rao was under orders not to act to protect the Sikhs and although I do not know this, I think that only Rajiv Gandhi was in the position to give such orders.
Man in Blue

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/sad-s-naresh-gujral-differs-from-party-backs-manmohan-singh-on-1984-remark/870659.html

The Statesman – We are not criminals,’ Shashi Tharoor tweets Lok Sabha MP Farooq Abdullah’s letter

Calling it a ‘preventative measure’ the Centre has detained thousands of Kashmiris including Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah under the Public Safety Act, which allows the authorities to detain an individual without trial for two years.

New Delhi – India, 06 December 2019. As Kashmir completed four months of unprecedented communication and movement lockdown, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor shared a letter by former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah, who called out the government for not allowing him to attend the winter session of parliament.

Former chief ministers, Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti, whose Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was in an alliance with the BJP, are among hundreds of local political leaders who are under arrest in one of the two newest Union Territories.

“Thank you for your letter on 21st October 2019 which has been delivered to me today by my magistrate who looks after me while I am in the sub-jail,” Mr Abdullah said in the letter. “It is most unfortunate that they are not able to deliver me my post in time. I am sure this is not the way to treat a senior Member of the Parliament and leader of a political party. We are not criminals,” the National Conference chief said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has given no certain date for when the lockdown will be uplifted. Calling it a ‘preventative measure’ the Centre has detained thousands of Kashmiris including Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah under the Public Safety Act, which allows the authorities to detain an individual without trial for two years.

The opposition has been raising the issue of prolonged political detention in Jammu and Kashmir, alleging that the Centre is not freeing Abdullah to stop him from speaking up.

“Letter from imprisoned Farooq saab. Members of Parliament should be allowed to attend the session as a matter of parliamentary privilege. Otherwise the tool of arrest can be used to muzzle opposition voices. Participation in parliament is essential for democracy and popular sovereignty,” Tharoor tweeted along with the letter.

‘We are not criminals,’ Shashi Tharoor tweets Lok Sabha MP Farooq Abdullah’s letter

Scroll.in – The Daily Fix: Why India will find it tough to ensure that Sri Lanka keeps its promises to Tamils

Gotabaya Rajapaksa has made it clear political rights of minority Tamils will not be his focus.

Sruthisagar Yamunan

New Delhi – India, 04 December 2019. Last month, Sri Lanka witnessed a regime change as the Rajapaksa brothers came back to power. While Gotabaya Rajapaksa became the president, his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa has been appointed the prime minister.

Both have faced allegations of ordering war crimes during the last stint in power, when thousands of Tamil civilians were killed by the Sri Lankan military in the final stages of the civil war in 2009.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s first visit abroad was to India last week. He met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi after India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar went to Colombo to personally deliver the invitation.

However, the Sri Lankan president’s comments after his meeting with Modi have raised concerns about how the new regime will handle the question of the country’s Tamil minority. Rajapaksa made it clear in an interview to The Hindu that devolving political rights to the Tamil-dominated areas will not be his priority. Rather, he will focus on the regions’ economic development.

The majoritarian language he deployed to make this point was startling. Full devolution of powers as per the Indo-Sri Lankan accord of 1987 will not be implemented “against the wishes and feeling of the majority [Sinhala] community”, he said.

The comment invited sharp criticism from politicians in Tamil Nadu, who urged the Modi government to ensure the safety and dignity of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Many in the southern Indian state feel that economic development without consummate political rights will lead to a demographic alteration of the Tamil regions, given the difference in prosperity between Tamils and majority Sinhala population.

However, as The Indian Express argued, Modi is in no position to push Sri Lanka on the question of rights for Tamils after what his own government has done in Kashmir.

The Centre removed the special status given to Kashmiris under the Indian Constitution in August and enforced a complete lock down of the region to stop people from protesting. Some of the restrictions on communications continue to date.

In a way, what India has done in Kashmir is to reverse the devolution of some rights agreed to around the time of Independence, when the region acceded to India. Having acted in this manner at home, it will be impossible for the Modi government to demand a higher degree of rights and autonomy for a minority population in another country.

This is possibly what emboldened Rajapaksa to make the statements that he did right after a meeting with Modi. During the meeting, the Indian prime minister said he was confident that the Sri Lankan government would pursue a process of reconciliation to meet the “aspirations of equality, justice, peace and respect of Tamils”.

Persuading Sri Lanka to devolve rights to the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka is a commitment that successive Indian governments had made. This culminated in the Indo-Sri Lankan accord of 1987. While parties in power may change in India, this should not affect the policy of the government. In its eagerness to keep the Chinese away from Sri Lanka, the Indian government should not ignore its promises to Tamils across the Palk Straits.

https://scroll.in/article/945733/the-daily-fix-why-india-will-find-it-tough-to-ensure-that-sri-lanka-keeps-its-promises-to-tamils

The Hindu – Country shares Rahul Bajaj’s sentiment: Congress

Special Correspondent

New Delhi – India, 02 December 2019. In the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah at an event in Mumbai, Mr. Bajaj said people feared criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Industrialist Rahul Bajaj’s remark on the atmosphere of fear is a sentiment shared by the entire country across all sectors, the Congress said on Sunday.

In the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at an event in Mumbai on Saturday, Mr Bajaj said people feared criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

During the second term of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), one could criticise the government without fear, he said. “if we criticise you, there is no guarantee that you will appreciate that.”

Palpable fear

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera welcomed Mr Bajaj’s comments. “What Mr Rahul Bajaj has said is a sentiment shared by the country across sectors. The atmosphere has been vitiated in the last five years. If there is no harmony in society, how do you expect investors to put up their money,” he asked.

At event on Friday, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there was a “palpable climate of fear”.

The Congress said the Modi government could not find a cure for the ailing economy since it was not willing    to acknowledge the “pathogens” that infected it. “They don’t know what are the mistakes which led to this situation. The first fatal blow to the economy was demonetisation, followed by a badly implemented Goods and Services Tax,” Mr. Khera said.

He also asked why the government was patting its back on the GST collection for November, at Rs 1,03,492 crore, after it dipped below the Rs 1 lakh crore mark for three successive months. “This was the collection target in 2017.”

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/country-shares-rahul-bajajs-sentiment/article30131552.ece

The Telegraph – Uddhav Thackeray sails through Maharashtra floor test

Fadnavis questioned the change of pro-tem Speaker for the floor tests

Sanjay K Jha

New Delhi – India, 01 December 2019. The Uddhav Thackeray government comfortably won Saturday’s floor test with the support of 169 legislators, 24 above the majority mark of 145, shortly after the BJP walked out of the Assembly raising procedural issues.

Having crossed the first hurdle, the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition will now have to elect the Speaker at a rare sitting of the House on Sunday. Congress member Nana Patole, a former Lok Sabha member who quit the BJP because of differences with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is the ruling coalition’s candidate for Speaker.

The BJP, which will get another opportunity to test the government’s majority during the Speaker’s election, has fielded Kisan S Kathore. Saturday’s vote saw four abstentions: by the two All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen members and the lone CPM and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena members.

The ruling coalition, which has 154 members of its own in the House of 288, received support from several Independents and smaller parties, dashing the 105-strong BJP’s hopes of restricting the margin to a minimum. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will now have little worry about the stability of his government.

The BJP’s House leader, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, questioned the change of pro-tem Speaker for the floor test.

While governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had initially nominated BJP member Kalidas Kolambkar, he was later replaced by the NCP’s Dilip Walse Patil. This was because the BJP government had resigned after the Supreme Court ordered a floor test, giving its successor the right to nominate its own pro-tem Speaker.

Fadnavis also objected to many of the members taking the oath in the name of social and political icons and party chiefs instead of the stipulated “Constitution or God”, and argued that the process was invalid.

He also questioned the holding of the floor test before the election of the Speaker, describing this as a violation of the constitutional scheme. He said the BJP would write to the governor to annul the entire process.

Uddhav, however, swiftly turned the procedural objection into an emotive issue, asking since when had invoking Shivaji’s name become a crime in Maharashtra. Before taking his oath on Thursday, Uddhav had said in Marathi: “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj vandan karun.”

After winning the trust vote on Saturday, he said: “If that is a crime, I will commit this crime again and again.”

Some others who had taken the oath of office along with Uddhav at Shivaji Park on Thursday too had invoked icons such as B R Ambedkar and Jyotiba Phule, in addition to their political bosses Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi. The BJP believes this was a violation grave enough to render the oath-taking invalid.

However, the BJP seems to have woken up a little late since the trend had already been witnessed in the Lok Sabha during the swearing-in of the newly elected members in June this year.

It was the BJP members who had started the “violations”, which almost triggered a war of slogans despite repeated pleas from the Chair.

While chants of “Modi, Modi” had erupted every now and then, slogans such as “Jai Sri Ram” and “Bharat Mata ki jai” had continued throughout the swearing-in.

Trinamul members had countered the BJP’s sloganeering with “Jai Bangla, jai Mamata, jai Kali”, while some Muslim members had responded to the relentless “Jai Shri Ram” chants by invoking “Allah”, “Bhim” and “Bismillah”.

A Biju Janata Dal member had ended his oath with “Jai Jagannath, jai Odisha, jai Naveen, vande Utkal janani”.

Pragya Singh Thakur, BJP member and terror accused, had created a flutter by adding her guru’s name to hers while taking the oath, prompting the pro-tem Speaker to interrupt her. “Pragya Singh Swami Purna Chetanand Avdheshanand Giri” is how she had introduced herself.

Another BJP member, Shantanu Thakur, wanted to take the oath in the name of Purnabrahma Harichand, who he said was his God.

If all this didn’t prompt the President or the Lok Sabha Speaker to declare the oaths invalid, it would now be difficult to explain how invoking Shivaji, Phule or Ambedkar merited the governor nullifying the Maharashtra swearing-ins.

Uddhav, however, will need to do some fine balancing while allotting the ministerial portfolios.

While the issue of Ajit Pawar becoming deputy chief minister remains a concern, the NCP has demanded both the key departments of home and finance.

The Congress has set its sights on power, revenue, education and rural development, leaving the public works department and urban development for the Sena.

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/uddhav-thackeray-sails-through-maharashtra-floor-test/cid/1723297?ref=top-stories_home-template

Deccan Herald – Akali MLA blackens Aurangzeb Lane’s signboard in Delhi

New Delhi – India, 01 December 2019. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa along with other Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) members blackened Aurangzeb Lane signboard in Lutyens’ Delhi on Sunday and demanded removal of Mughal emperor’s name from name from road signages and textbooks.

Aurangzeb was a “murderer” who killed Guru Tegh Bahadur and tortured Guru Gobind Singh’s sons, Sirsa said. “People need to be reminded of Aurangzeb’s bloody past on this day of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s martyrdom day,” Sirsa said justifying his action.

The DSGMC president said the central government and states should ensure that no roads were named after Aurangzeb and he was not taught in school and colleges

“It is surprising that Aurangzeb was glorified despite his atrocities on Sikh gurus. There should be a debate in the Parliament over who is responsible for this,” he said. The Mughal emperor was “systematically” glorified after Independence, and not only roads were named after him, he is taught in school and colleges, Sirsa said.

Sirsa was accompanied by Akali Dal leader Harmeet Singh Kalka, Kulvant Singh Baarh and Vicky Mann. Notably, in 2015, the NDMC had renamed Aurangzeb Road as APJ Abdul Kalam Road on the former president, but the lane’s name remained the same.

Aurangzeb did a great service to the Marathas in the south and the Sikhs and others in the north. His continuous warfare exhausted the coffers of the Delhi Darbar and he was therefore the beginning of the end of the Mughal Empire. No roads or institutions should be named after him, but he should of course not being deleted from textbooks.
Man in Blue

https://www.deccanherald.com/national/north-and-central/akali-mla-blackens-aurangzeb-lanes-signboard-in-delhi-781598.html

The Print – Japan looked at situation in Kashmir ‘very carefully’ & hopes for a peaceful resolution

The Japanese Foreign Ministry’s comments came a day after India & Japan held their first foreign & defence ministerial dialogue to broad-base strategic ties.

New Delhi – India, 1 December 2019. Japan on Sunday said it looked at the situation in Kashmir “very carefully” and hoped that a peaceful resolution to the issue will be found through dialogue.

The comments by a spokesperson of the Japanese Foreign Ministry came a day after India and Japan held their first foreign and defence ministerial dialogue under a new framework to further broadbase strategic ties.

“I do not remember the ministers going into the detailed discussion on the specific issue,” Deputy Press Secretary in Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Atsushi Kaifu told reporters when asked whether the Kashmir issue figured in the talks.

“But at the same time, I can say we looked at the situation there very carefully. We are aware of the long-standing differences of views with regard to Kashmir. We hope a peaceful resolution will be found through dialogue,” he said.

Asked about uncertainty over the Japan-backed bullet train project from Mumbai to Ahmedabad after a new government came to power in Maharashtra, the spokesperson said officials of both the countries are working on it and that challenges occur in large projects.

To a question on China’s growing assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea, Kaifu said freedom of navigation and overflight must be ensured in the region, asserting that Japan does not compromise on security and maritime issues.

“Japan and China now have a lively relationship, but we do not compromise on security and maritime issues including on the South China Sea,” he said, adding that Japan has been trying to engage China in various ways and both countries are working on a bilateral visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Japan next year.

On Saturday, India and Japan, under the new framework of two-plus-two dialogue, discussed a raft of strategic issues, including the threat posed to regional security by terror groups operating from Pakistan, latest developments in the disputed South China Sea and evolving security scenario in the Indo-Pacific region.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar led the Indian delegation while the Japanese was headed by Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Minister of Defence Taro Kono.

Asked whether the 5G spectrum issue figured in the talks, Kaifu said it was briefly touched upon in the context of cooperation in the digital sphere. Beijing has been urging New Delhi to make an independent decision on allowing its telecom giant Huawei to participate in India’s 5G trial.

The US has banned Huawei, the world leader in telecom equipment and the number two smartphone producer, over concerns of security and Washington has been pressuring other countries to restrict the operations of the company.

On India’s decision to not join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the spokesperson said the countries of the grouping were trying to resolve New Delhi’s concerns as decided at its meeting in Bangkok last month.

Asked whether Japan was keen on carrying out development projects in Arunachal Pradesh, Kaifu said both India and his country were keen on rolling out connectivity projects in the North Eastern region.

Careful deliberations are on about possible areas of engagement, he said.

China has been opposed to any foreign-funded projects in Arunachal Pradesh as it claims the state to be part of its southern Tibet.

Kaifu said Saturday’s talks also laid the ground for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India this month for annual summit level talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

Referring to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s visit to India few days back, he said the island nation is a key country for maritime security cooperation and that Japan was also trying to expand cooperation with it.

Talking about growing Indo-Japan ties, the Japanese foreign ministry spokesperson also said that both countries can join hands to carry out projects in African continent.

Japan looked at situation in Kashmir ‘very carefully’ & hopes for a peaceful resolution

Scroll.in – Hindutva politics: Pragya Thakur’s Godse praises: What is a terror-accused doing in Parliament in the first place?

Punishing the MP by removing her from a parliamentary panel is like yelling at a thief for stealing after you handed him the keys to your house.

Rohan Venkataramakrishnan

New Delhi – India, 27 November 2019. Is anyone surprised that Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament Pragya Singh Thakur called Mohandas Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a “deshbhakt”, a patriot, in Parliament?

Thakur has made no secret of her admiration for Godse and indeed, called him a patriot even in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections after she was made a BJP candidate.

At the time, she had to apologise, and the BJP insisted that its views were not the same as hers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi even said he will never be able to forgive Thakur for her comments.

Yet nothing about her candidature changed and her electoral victory was celebrated.

On Thursday, a day after Thakur called Godse a deshbhakt in the Lok Sabha, and despite others in the party trying to claim she wasn’t talking about Gandhi’s assassin, the BJP has decided to take some action.

Thakur has been removed from the Parliamentary panel on defence. BJP working president J P Nadda said she will not be allowed to participate in parliamentary party meetings this session.

If that sounds like an appropriate punishment, it isn’t. Punishing Thakur by removing her from the Parliamentary defence panel is like yelling at a thief for stealing after you handed him the keys to your house. Why was he inside in the first place?

In the same vein, the question is not whether the punishment is apt, but why Thakur was even on a defence panel, and indeed, in Parliament in the first place.

Let’s not forget, Thakur has been accused of terrorism. She is among the alleged conspirators in the Malegaon blasts case, where explosives hidden in a motorcycle killed six people and injured more than 100 others in Maharashtra in 2008.

Her initial comment defending Godse also came in the context of terrorism, in which she said people should not call him a terrorist because he was actually a patriot.

Clearly, she subscribes to or, at the very least, admires Godse’s violent philosophy and has also been accused of committing terror herself, two data points that should have meant no mainstream political party even considering her for a Lok Sabha ticket, let alone a spot on a Parliamentary panel overseeing India’s defence.

But this is what the BJP chose to endorse. It should now hardly be surprising that Thakur espouses the views she has always held. Modi’s “will never forgive her” comments seemed to achieve nothing. And it is equally doubtful that the current punishments will somehow prompt a change of heart from Thakur.

At most, it seems as if the party is mildly embarassed by her comments because of the headlines they result in, not because of the implication that the BJP is endorsing and actually promoting a strain of thought that believes in hatred and violence. Indeed, for many in the party, that is a selling point, as the support for Thakur online on Wednesday demonstrated.

This is the India that the BJP wants: one where the ruling party openly encourages bigoted behaviour and policies, where any criticism is labeled anti-national, where those who were part of lynch mobs are garlanded. This is the India that the BJP has helped create. How can anyone be surprised that praise for Gandhi’s assassin made its way to Parliament?

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https://scroll.in/article/945143/pragya-thakurs-godse-praises-what-is-a-terror-accused-doing-in-parliament-in-the-first-place