Malegaon blast accused Pragya Thakur's name in defence panel, Congress calls it as insult'

Singh courted controversy when during the electoral campaign she praised Mahatma Gandhi's killer Nathuram Godse as a patriot.

New Delhi: BJP MP Pragya Thakur, who is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, has been nominated to a 21-member parliamentary consultative committee on defence that will be headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

In its response the Congress took to Twitter calling the appointment "an insult to our nation's defence forces".

"Pragya Thakur, a terror accused & Godse fanatic has been nominated by the BJP govt. to be a member of the Parliamentary Panel on Defence. This move is an insult to our nation's defence forces, to our nation's esteemed parliamentarians & to every Indian," the party said in a tweet on Thursday morning.

The consultative committee is decided by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and not by parliament itself; it only has powers of consultation and its recommendations are not binding.

According to a notification dated October 31, other members of the committee include National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, who has been detained at his residence in Jammu and Kashmir's Srinagar since the centre's decision on Article 370 in August and was later charged with "disturbing public order" under the strict Public Safety Act.

The newest-member of the consultative committee on defence has been at the heart of at least two major controversies in recent months.

The Bhopal MP, who is an accused in the Malegaon blasts case, defeated former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year.

Singh courted controversy when during the electoral campaign she praised Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse as a patriot. Under pressure from the party, she took her statement back.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said her comments were “detrimental to society”. “Whatever has been said about Gandhi or Godse, these kind of statements are very bad and worth contempt. In a cultured society, this type of language is not permissible… Though she has apologised, I won’t be able to pardon her with my heart,” he had said.

Pragya Thakur is currently out on bail, granted on grounds of ill health, and faces multiple charges under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Indian Penal Code, the Arms Act and the Explosive Substances Act.

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