The arrest of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur on February 25 and filing of chargesheet before Judicial Magistrate Padmesh Shah in Dewas against her as key figure in the murder of Sunil Joshi, an RSS worker, by Madhya Pradesh police on February 28, has once again brought to light involvement of Hindutva activists in terror acts across the country. Joshi, believed to be an associate of the Sadhvi, was shot dead on December 29, 2007, near his house in Dewas, MP.
Pragya Thakur was earlier arrested in the 2008 Malegaon blast case after the Maharashtra ATS found that the bike used to plant the bomb was registered in her name. During interrogation, Pragya told the sleuths that she had sold the bike to Joshi, who is a suspect in various blast cases, including on Samjhauta Express and at Ajmer Dargah and Makka Masjid Hyderabad.
A team of senior officials from the Industrial Area police station in Dewas interrogated Pragya for an hour in the hospital, where she has been undergoing treatment, on February 26. Five other persons – BJP corporator from Dewas Ram Charan Patel and RSS activists Harshad Solanki, Vasudev Parmar, Anand Raj and Mehul – have been also arrested in connection with the murder of Joshi. Patel was arrested last month for destruction of evidence. He had allegedly taken away Joshi’s cellphone on the night of the murder, destroyed the sim card and gave a different handset to the police. Solanki is an accused in the Samjhauta Express blast case and was arrested by the Rajasthan ATS last year.
Sadhvi’s name surfaced in January when Chanchal, the 19-year-old niece of Joshi, told presspersons that Pragya was regular visitor at their Dewas residence. Chanchal claimed that Sadhvi had visited their house the night after Joshi’s murder and took away a briefcase. However, the police are yet to seize the weapon Joshi was murdered with and the briefcase Pragya is said to have removed from Joshi’s home on the night of his murder.
The 432-page chargesheet, consisting of 89 annexures and statements of 124 witnesses, specifically mentions that Joshi was eliminated by fellow Hindutva activists including the Sadhvi for his “high-handedness and the fear” that his arrest would unmask Hindutva plotters of explosions in several parts of the country.
To senior observers and human rights activists it is crystal clear that Hindutva activists are in fact terror-oriented. However only time will say what turn these cases against these Hindutva terrorists take and how these killers of innocent lives are brought to book.