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Modi returns as the prodigal son of the far right in India

14 110 0
25.04.2019

On April 21, as terror gripped Sri Lanka in the aftermath one of the worst attacks witnessed by the country in recent years, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a message of condolence to Colombo.

He called the attacks "cold-blooded and preplanned barbaric acts" and reiterated that there could be no place for such barbarism in any civilised country. He pointed out that terrorism poses the most serious challenge in South Asia, especially since the attacks in Sri Lanka were perpetrated at religious sites and during a religious festival.

Two days before the prime minister said these words, he inducted Pragya Thakur, a seer from the province of Madhya Pradesh, into his party and gave her an election ticket to contest one of the most coveted seats in the North Indian belt, which over the past two decades has witnessed multiple episodes of intercommunal tensions.

Thakur - or Sadhvi (priestess) Pragya as she is referred to by her followers - was introduced into the electoral race by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supposedly to correct for the gender imbalance on their list of candidates. Yet, most Indians know her not as a rising female politician, but as a suspect facing terror charges in relation to a deadly bomb blast in the city of Malegaon, Maharashtra state which targeted the Muslim minority.

On the morning of September 29, 2008, two explosive devices fitted into a motorcycle exploded in the city killing nine people and injuring hundreds. The motorcycle belonged to Thakur and in a taped conversation with a co-accused submitted to court as evidence, she supposedly says: "If my vehicle was used for the blast, how come so few people (Muslims) died, why didn't you park it in a........

© Al Jazeera