After facing backlash for making Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur the BJP candidate for Bhopal, the decision to field Malegaon blast accused was defended by Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
In an interview to the Hindustan Times, Fadnavis said that the move is a befitting reply to those who insulted Hindus by coining the term, Hindu terrorism. He also added that Thakur should not have made the remarks against Hemant Karkare, who gave his life for the country. In the interview, Fadnavis said, “We are relying on the probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Their investigation says there is no evidence against her. This is a made-up, cooked-up issue. On that basis, the party took a decision to give her the ticket.”
Fadnavis also blamed the Opposition for coining terms like Hindu terror. Adding to which Fadnavis said, around 2007-08, terrorist activities were at its peak in the state. People were being arrested in large numbers. Minorities, especially Muslims, were complaining about action against them and they were going against the Congress-NCP. As such, a counter-narrative was prepared and the Hindu terror narrative was created. One realises this after going through the outcome of NIA investigation. If you are trying to insult Hindus by coining terms such as Hindu terror, this is the reply to it. You troubled her [Thakur], so she will answer back. There is no such thing as Hindu terrorism. Absolutely not.”
One the Karkare controversy, Fadnavis told Hindustan Times, “She shouldn’t have made such remarks. Hemant Karkare was one of the finest officers. He was honest and laid down his life for the country. She may have had a different experience and may have suffered. Still, it is not right to speak like this about someone who has sacrificed his life for the country. She shouldn’t have such things. But even seasoned leaders make irresponsible comments. I would advise her to observe restraint while speaking.”
Thakur is in the eye of a storm for controversial statements that her “curse” led to former Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare’s death in 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and that she was proud to have participated in the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Thakur is out on bail in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. The Hindutva leader had filed her nomination papers on Monday, which she believed was an “auspicious time” for her, a day after an FIR was filed against her for her remark that she was “proud” of her participation in the demolition of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya in 1992.