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Rediff.com  » News » 'My daughter Pragya is innocent'

'My daughter Pragya is innocent'

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Last updated on: November 12, 2008 15:10 IST

In the first part of the interview, Dr Chandrapal Singh, father of Puranchetanand Giri, better known as Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, who was arrested by the Mumbai police's Anti Terrorist Squad in connection with the bomb blast in Malegaon, spoke of her growing up years and early influences.

Part I: My Daughter Sadhvi Pragnya

Dr Singh, a committed Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh worker for the last 35 years, spoke to rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt at his home in Surat about why he believes his daughter is innocent.

Excerpts from the second and final part of the interview.

"I encouraged Pragya to become a sadhvi because that is the real life. We are all suffering the results of falsehood. In the last two years she became a sadhvi and headed her own organisation called Jai Vande Mataram. It's active in helping women who have been converted to other religions by deceit. She also helps quarrelling couples by trying to build bridges between them. The entire Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad family was her family.

"Talking about the police, I can only say they are working under the political parties. They have to obey them 85 percent of the time. Later, they will apologise that they are forced to do certain things.

"During the Emergency I have seen it first hand. My name was on top of the police list. The government alleged that I was an anti-national, I belonged to an organisation that killed (Mahtama) Gandhi and that I am disturbing peace in society. The RSS asked me to go underground and I wasn't arrested.

"In the case of Pragya, we don't deny that she owned a motorcycle. Some four and a half years back Pragya had lost the registration papers and her degree certificates in Bhopal. She lost her purse when an autorikshaw hit her; she had a head injury. When she recovered she thought of getting rid of the motorcycle. One way was to prepare a new set of papers. When her colleagues at ABVP came to know that Didi wants to sell her motorcycle they came forward. Her one-year-old vehicle was worth Rs 43,000 and it was in a very good condition but they offered her only Rs 25,000. When the deal was closed, the buyer, Manoj Sharma, gave only Rs 24,000. He used to attend ABVP programmes and used to come to Surat also.

"We signed the papers. Some RTO fixer said they will help transfer the name. For four years the vehicle was not transferred in the buyer's name. Meanwhile the motorcycle was stolen from Sharma's home. Why did he not report to the police? Manoj claims it's because the motorcycle was not transferred in his name. He was targeted by SIMI and guys from the Church, also. A Christian member of the Congress was murdered and Manoj Sharma's name was inserted in that case. This is how the bike reached "that" camp. When the vehicle resurfaced in the (Malegaon) blast, the police could trace our house from the chassis number.

"On October 9, the Anti-Terrorism Squad's inspector Samant came to see me in Surat, in this house. He said he wanted to ask me some questions. I agreed. He asked me, "Where is this vehicle?" I said, "It's not mine. It belongs to my daughter. And some four years back it was sold." I asked him why is he asking all these things. He said he would tell me later.

"He asked me if I have my daughter's number. I didn't have it but I got it from someone. He talked to Pragya on the phone. She accepted that the motorcycle once belonged to her and it was sold. The inspector asked if she can come to Surat. Pragya came on October 12 from Madhya Pradesh. The police took her to Mumbai and kept her illegally in police custody for 12 days.

"I didn't complain. I believe that every citizen should help the process of law. I told the police that you may be very strict. I will be happy for that because it means that you are honest. I welcome you if you are honest. Why should I fear you? People who are guilty should be afraid of you. Why should I be afraid of you? Pragya told me, "Pitaji, my intention is not bad. I haven't done anything; I have never even imagined such a thing. Don't worry about me. You remain absolutely tension-free. I will return safe after managing this crisis. Trust me. Even if I am imprisoned I will come out without any blemishes".

"By the way, what is your definition of non-violence? When Gandhiji was asked about it, he had said that non-violence doesn't mean escapism. To protect "non-violence", even if we have to hit someone it can't be termed as "violence". Will you term Ram a violent person because he killed Ravana? However, to uphold nationalism you don't need to plant bombs. Pragya has Christian and Muslim friends. I believe in Hindu religion non-violence is valued above truth. I am confident that my daughter will come out unblemished. This is a made-up case to prepare the political climate .Have you heard anywhere that SIMI is wrong? People in power can do these things if they carry bad thoughts.

"I will ask you a counter-question. Do you think anyone who is involved will give her own bike to do such things? Those who indulge in terrorism, will they easily surrender when the ATS calls? When a relative went to see her in police custody Pragya asked him, "What was the need to come? Don't you trust me? Let the police do whatever they like. One day they will have to release me".

"Being a sadhvi she eats little food. She mixes rotis and subzis in one deep bowl and dilutes the taste before eating it.

"Now, I don't know how she is in jail. She is no more with ABVP because she heads her own organisation. She was never with the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Vishwa Hindu Parishad so if they deny any links with her they are not wrong. I have an association with the RSS but the RSS doesn't have swayamsevikas so in that sense she is not directly related to the RSS. (Gujarat Chief Minister) Narendra Modi has been associated with ABVP and Pragya has been a member of it, so they have met at a few events.

"I am not upset that some leaders have not come out in the open to support Pragya. Because, my daughter has not done anything wrong. When Christ was crucified he didn't ask for a saviour. He was less famous then, but today he is famous many times more.

"I am 99 percent sure that Pragya is not involved in the Malegaon blast case. I am not sure one percent only because since the last two years she was not visiting my home because sadhvis are not supposed to visit their parental home. She doesn't address me as pitaji and now calls me Doctor saab.

"I know she was dissatisfied with the blasts in India. She wanted everybody to be pragmatic. She wanted the people to think of the nation first. We believe that when India will become a Hindu Rashtra there will be no sin committed on this land. The Supreme Court says Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life. But in Sanskrit it is said that a person who is opposing sin on the strength of divine beliefs is a Hindu. We are not yet true Hindus.

"The Sangh believes that if Muslims are doing something wrong we should explain to them that it is our collective loss. And, we believe there are enough Muslims in India who understand this.

"Bal Thackerayji is not supporting my daughter; he is trying to unite Hindu votes. The same thing is done by the Congress. This is not fair. Thackeray is supporting Pragya to prepare his votebank and Congress is harassing Pragya to tell Muslims that they are their only protectors. Muslims know well the games the Congress plays.

"I don't need Modi's support. If I have done injustice, I will get punishment and I will be hanged. If I have not done any crime then even if Modi doesn't come to our rescue we will be saved. There is something called self-confidence. I haven't met Modi in a formal sense but we know each other well enough. I am an RSS worker and he is also one.

"I need only the support of God and society. If my daughter had done anything wrong she would have told me somehow. My daughter is not capable of hiding anything from me. She would have surely told me, "Even if I die, I will do this (planting of bombs)."

"I believe my daughter is innocent."

Sheela Bhatt

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