Advani demands judicial probe into charges against PragyaNovember 18th, 2008 - 7:06 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 18 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) senior leader L.K. Advani Tuesday finally broke his silence over the arrest of two Hindu religious leaders for Malegaon bomb blast and sought a judicial inquiry in their case.”I demand a judicial inquiry to probe charges against Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and the manner in which unsubstantiated allegations have been made against army personnel,” Advani said in a statement released here while he was on way from Delhi to Raipur.
Advani earlier maintained that the BJP had nothing to do with the sadhvi and if found guilty, she should be punished.
Advani also demanded that “the present Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) team investigating the case be changed totally”.
The veteran leader admitted that he had “so far” refrained from commenting on the case but Pragya’s affidavit, made before a Nashik court Monday, made him change his mind.
While the Nashik court Monday extended the remand for Pragya, 38, and seven other accused of the Malegaon bomb blast case, she in her affidavit alleged that the ATS had illegally detained her and then tortured her “physically, mentally and psychologically”.
“I read the full text of Sadhvi Pragya’s affidavit submitted before the Nashik court (Monday). I cannot believe that such barbaric treatment has been meted out to a spiritual person, that too, to a woman in a country that prides on its democracy and rule of law,” Advani said.
“After going through her affidavit, detailing how she was psychologically and physically tortured and abused in obscene language by her interrogators, I have to express my shock and outrage, which I’m sure all Indians will share,” he said.
Earlier this week, BJP president Rajnath Singh also supported Pragya.
“I am not ready to believe that Sadhvi Pragya is a terrorist,” Singh said in an interview to NDTV.
The two BJP leaders’ statements are contrary to their earlier stand of distancing themselves from radical Hindu outfits.
Advani now believes the Maharashtra “ATS is acting in a politically motivated and unprofessional manner”.
Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur is an accused in the Sep 29 bomb blast in a Muslim-dominated area of Malegaon, Maharashtra, that claimed six lives.
Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit, a serving Indian Army officer, is among the accused.