The trial of Sadhvi P
by Sandhya Jain on 04 Nov 2008 20 Comments

Sadhvi Pragya’s prosecution fast resembles the farcical trial of Joseph K, sentenced to nothingness in a tedious trial in which charges were not even framed.

The Sadhvi, of course, has been framed for plotting the 29 September Malegaon (Maharashtra) and Modasa (Gujarat) bomb blasts in which six Muslims died, an accusation being exploited by anti-Hindus to create the spectre of Hindu terror equalling if not quite surpassing the Islamic jihad. As Mumbai scripts go, it’s not a bad plot – it’s just that it doesn’t click with the audience.

In the absence of any evidence – primary, circumstantial, corroborative, forensic, or even contrived through facilities like brain-mapping and lie detector tests during 10 days of police custody – the decision of the Nashik court to grant the Maharashtra ATS the privilege of a further 14-day judicial remand is astounding, inexplicable, and unacceptable.

Sadhvi Pragya’s guilt is now irrelevant to Hindus – it is the judiciary that stands in the dock of public opinion, and it seems to be faring poorly. The Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad is under political pressure to make a case, and is clearly on a fishing expedition; for some reason the local judiciary has agreed to play ball.

That is why, despite no credible movement in the case after the arrest of the Sadhvi and some serving and retired army officers, she was denied bail, which should have been a mere formality. As she was defended by skilled lawyers fielded by the Shiv Sena and the BJP, poor defence is out of the question. The Prosecution had no case, only a brief to ensure that a Sadhvi and Hindu officers with links to hardcore nationalist institutions and families are somehow arraigned in the Malegaon blasts case.

It is a mistake in India to mess with Devi. The Hindu woman and the Hindu goddess are both Devi. Sadhvi Pragya is additionally a sanyasi – a lady who has performed her own death rites, shunned the material world, and embraced the spiritual life for the welfare of society. There will be a price to pay for her deliberate humiliation.

Sadhvi Pragya has been mistreated and manhandled by junior functionaries of an anti-Hindu State. She was denied her saffron robes and made to wear civilian clothes – an unspeakable atrocity, as this is the ultimate punishment given by the religious order to those who fall from the path of dharma. The Sadhvi is a Hindu icon, and the decision to deprive her of her saffron robes is nothing short of cultural iconoclasm. Here we cannot blame the jihadis; it is the firangis who call the shots in New Delhi who must answer for this unforgivable incident. 

Worse, the media has been invited to take pictures of her with funny head-gear, and it seems fairly certain that some wise guys in New Delhi asked for this to nullify Muslim anger over Muslim terror suspects being given Arabic scarves to hide their faces. I do not know if Muslims feel appeased or not – the whole point of this case – but Hindus are enraged. We are geared to fight in Panipat and Meerut once more.

Sadhvi Pragya is being made to undergo another narco-test in Mumbai on 4 November, and this suggests the determination of the Maharashtra Government, in conjunction with the ruling Congress at the Centre – to somehow nail her in the run-up to elections in some States. No doubt to convince public opinion of her alleged guilt, unidentified sources are busy with media leaks, and we are now told that there are “eyewitnesses” who have “heard conversation between principal accused Ramji Kalsagre and Pragya Singh Thakur.” Too bad we don’t have a video-recording! The credulous may still believe that Ramji told Pragya her motorcycle was used in the Malegaon blasts and that it would not be traced to her. Now why couldn’t they steal somebody else’s bike?

And why couldn’t the ATS recruit the services of such a dedicated organisation as Tehelka, which would have had the ingenuity to provide tapes of the alleged conversation Sadhvi Pragya had with Ramji Kalsagre, in which she asked him why there had been less casualties in the incidents? Less than what? Sarojini Nagar or Assam? 

There’s more. Ajay Eknath Rahirkar, alleged financier of the conspiracy (I thought the dedicated army officers had given the RDX free) has been arrested from Pune (land of the Savarkars and Godses). He and Jagdish Chintamani Mhatre and Rakesh Dattaram Dhawade were coordinating to provide funds to purchase arms. What weapons? I thought these were bomb blasts?

No, it seems the capable ATS has recovered six imported weapons from Dhawade, and 190 rounds. Weapons have also been recovered from Mhatre - Smith and Wesson, Luger and Webley and Scott. Really? Well, may be Sadhvi Pragya and her co-accused can now get bail and star in some Bollywood hits, a la Sanjay Dutt; may be like him they can also seriously consider a career in politics, because it doesn't seem like he is going back to jail while things are going so well on the career front. 

The dominant faction of the BJP seems to have woken up to the rising quantum of Hindu rage in the matter. The party has demanded that the Maharashtra government show the evidence against the Sadhvi and her co-accused; else it would appear that the “investigation is not transparent and it could be sponsored.” In fact, during the investigations in the 2006 Malegaon blasts, the ATS had concluded that the blasts were the handiwork of members of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). That is why BJP wants to know why those leads were ignored this time. 

Yet this is not enough. The BJP must approach the Supreme Court to stop the judicial abuse of the Sadhvi – who knows what kind of drugs may be introduced into her food and drink to make her deliver the desired confessions? Remember the CD in which the Kanchi Acharya allegedly blamed the Bal Perivaar for his travails? After a Hindu uproar, it was quietly withdrawn and never heard of again. But those who saw the television clips felt that the Perivaar showed signs of having been administered some substances.

And while not forgetting that the entire Hindu community is being sought to be humiliated through the Sadhvi – for having successfully isolated jihad as a law and order problem best left to policemen like late Inspector M.C. Sharma, and for drawing ‘red lines’ against the encroachments of the conversion industry – the BJP needs to speak up for the men in uniform, in this case the Indian Army.

A national institution of the utmost importance – a pillar of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India – is being willfully humiliated and demoralized at the instance of persons whose hearts do not beat or bleed for India. These are people who can walk into foreign embassies and fly out of the country with impunity when the going gets tough – they have no right to hound honourable men who have given their lives to the country.

Those who think they can treat the Indian Army like any two-bit jihadi suspect should first relinquish their personal security. With so much appeasement of Islamic terror, one would think that they had nothing to fear anyway. So whom does the threat to their lives come from? These questions must be answered – they are not intended to be rhetorical at all.

Finally, Hindus owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the old Tiger of Mumbai. With a single roar, Bal Thackeray has transcended the regional divide fostered by his estranged nephew and united and ignited Hindus nation-wide. For Sharad Pawar and the Nationalist Congress Party, there could not have been a worse moment to line up behind Raj…

The author is Editor,

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