Mumbai Women Congress workers held protest against Pragya Thakur's "Godse a patriot" remark on Saturday. Photo/ANI
Mumbai Women Congress workers held protest against Pragya Thakur's "Godse a patriot" remark on Saturday. Photo/ANI

Godse row: Nationwide protests held against Sadhvi Pragya, agitators seek cancellation of candidature

ANI | Updated: May 18, 2019 21:01 IST

Mumbai (Maharashtra)/ Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], May 18 (ANI): Irked by BJP leader Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur's remark hailing Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as a "true patriot", hundreds of people staged protests across various parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka seeking cancellation of her candidature from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat.
Earlier this week, Thakur had courted controversy by saying, "Nathuram Godse was a deshbhakt, is a deshbhakt and will remain a deshbhakt," while commenting on actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan's statement that independent India's first terrorist was a Hindu, referring to Godse.
Thakur, who faced backlash from the Opposition and her party alike, apologised for hurting sentiments of people. "If someone has been hurt then I apologise for it. What Gandhi ji did for this country cannot be forgotten. I respect him a lot. My statement was misinterpreted and twisted by the media," she had told ANI on Thursday.
Condemning the Malegaon blast accused's statement, 'Mahatma Gandhi Vichar Manch' workers held a protest in Mumbai, holding placards which read -- "History will never forgive PM Modi", "Mr PM, will you show courage and expel Pragya Thakur", "We all respect Mahatma Gandhi".
Agitators with posters of Mahatma Gandhi in their hands also raised slogans against Thakur and Godse.
"BJP and Sangh Parivar are trying to ruin Mahatma Gandhi's image. They are even trying to justify Bapu's murder. First, BJP claims that they are fighting against terrorism and then they field a terror blast accused (Thakur) in the Lok Sabha polls. Thakur is not actually retracted on her statement as it was a conditional sorry. She said she is sorry if she has hurt someone's emotions," Social Activist Salim Alvare told ANI.
"Basically, it was the most shameful attack on Mahatma Gandhi. If Godse is a mean Gandhi was anti-national. Hegde, Kateel, and Sadhvi should be expelled from the party. I want to say it firmly that first Hindu terrorist of independent India was Godse," he added.
Firoze Mithiborewala, a member of Gandhi Vichar Manch said the protest is beyond elections. "It is about Gandhigiri, freedom fighters and the values on which our country was born."
Meanwhile, Mumbai Women Congress workers took out a peaceful march and observed silence. The protestors were seen with black gags on their mouth and banners of Thakur saying "expel her immediately".
"We are protesting against Thakur's remark and asking a question to PM Modi why he claims that he follows principles of Mahatma Gandhi? We want him to expel Thakur from the party. It is our responsibility to take an action against the person who has raised fingers against the "freedom struggle" of our country," a woman protestor said.
"Several BJP leaders have maligned the image of freedom fighters. They have even used Rajiv Gandhi's name for political gains. They should cancel the candidature of Thakur immediately," Gandhi Vichar Manch leader Richa Chadda said.
In Karnataka, hundreds of Congress supporters and leaders gathered to raise their voice against BJP's Bhopal candidate.
"This is known to everyone that Godse was a very hero to the RSS. BJP follows Godse's philosophy and uses Gandhi's photo to get respect. BJP wants to destroy the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. We know that BJP's leadership will not take any action because they all are the followers of people who are making statements in favour of Godse and all are being followed by the Prime Minister. BJP should stop being a hypocrite and accept they are a communal party," Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President Dinesh Gundu Rao said. (ANI)