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Ex-officials request BJP to drop Pragya from contest

The signatories to the open letter have also found fault with the Election Commission and the judiciary

  • Published 25.04.19, 7:55 AM
  • Updated 25.04.19, 7:55 AM
  • a min read
Pragya Singh Thakur waves at her supporters at a campaign in Bhopal on Wednesday. (PTI)

Retired bureaucrats on Wednesday urged the BJP to withdraw the poll candidature of terror accused Pragya Singh Thakur, and appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remember his oath to uphold the Constitution.

Expressing dismay at the nomination of Pragya, a key accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast in which six persons were killed, the retired bureaucrats said it could have been dismissed as yet another example of political expediency but for the “enthusiastic endorsement by no less a person than the Prime Minister of India, who has termed her candidature as a symbol of our civilisational heritage”.

In an open letter, the collective of retired bureaucrats that goes by the name Constitutional Conduct said the Prime Minister “cannot escape the irony of his party seeking votes in the name of fighting terrorism and at the same time endorsing the candidature of a person accused of terror crimes”.

Anguished by Pragya’s comments that IPS officer Hemant Karkare, who was slain in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, died because she had cursed him for “torturing” her in custody, the retired bureaucrats said: “The country needs to honour the sacrifice of Shri Karkare and not allow deviant individuals to denigrate him and his memory.

“Every officer who has served with or supervised the work of Shri Karkare has testified that he was a person of impeccable integrity and an inspiration to all who came in touch with him.”

Referring to Modi’s claim that Pragya’s selection was a symbol of India’s “civilisational heritage”, the retired bureaucrats asserted: “Our heritage is not that of acts of terrorism. It is not of majoritarianism but of celebrating our diversity. It is of tolerance, fraternity and of the unifying spirit of the Constitution of India.”

The signatories to the open letter have also found fault with the Election Commission and the judiciary.

“To institutions like the Election Commission and the judiciary, we would like to point out that their efforts to contain the politics of divisiveness and of hate have had little impact so far.”

Poll plea scrapped

A National Investigation Agency court in Mumbai on Wednesday rejected a plea by a Malegaon victim’s father to prohibit Pragya from contesting the elections, saying it had no power to do so. PTI 

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