Fiery, fanatical and a sanyasin to boot

November 9, 2008

Until her arrest in Surat on October 10 for her alleged involvement in the Malegaon bomb blasts, you would almost certainly have not heard of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. In Tehelka, Rana Ayyub profiles this 37-year-old daughter of a RSS idealogue.

sadhviAFTER A string of multi-city bomb blasts ascribed to the Students’ Islamic Movement of India, the arrest of Sadhvi Purnachetnagiri aka Pragya Singh Thakur has provided yet another lead, though faint, into the country’s right-wing extremist terror modules. Pragya was arrested in Surat by the Mumbai police Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on October 10 for her alleged involvement in the September 29 blasts in Malegaon in Maharashtra’s Nashik district. Five people were killed in the blast that happened on the eve of Id; another blast in the Gujarat town of Modasa killed a boy but the Gujarat police have exonerated Pragya and her associates of involvement in the case. Pragya has been a key and apparently popular member of various saffron organisations across the country since the mid-90s, although she entered the limelight only after her arrest. Now in judicial custody till November 17, she has so far provide the ATS little to go on, despite having undergone brain-mapping and polygraph tests. The results of a narcoanalysis test conducted on her recently have not as yet been disclosed.

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Our freedoms, your lordships

March 4, 2008

Pratap Bhanu Mehta in The Indian Express says some Supreme Court orders are inimical to liberal values 

All due respect to the Supreme Court, it is now fair to say that unwittingly some of its orders are giving aid and succour to all those tendencies that are out to subvert liberal values in this country. For the second time in less than a year, the Supreme Court has passed an order that should send a shiver down the spines of all those who care about freedom and the possibility of open-minded scholarship. In an order passed in the context of a Special Leave Petition 8931, the Supreme Court has suggested that “after hearing the learned counsel for parties at some length we feel that if Paras 2,5,7 and 8, of the Schedule are omitted, interest of justice would be best served.” The court clarifies that this suggestion shall “not in any way affect the merits of the issue involved,” which shall be examined after the response of “respondent no 4” is received.

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