Husband Ashok says he and Pooja Shakun Pandey have trained their children to kill anyone who ‘challenges the unity of our motherland’.
Aligarh: On his 71st death anniversary, while the nation — led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — was paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi, a self-styled Hindu leader instantly shot to infamy by staging an ‘assassination’ of his effigy in Aligarh Wednesday.
The saffron-clad woman leader, Pooja Shakun Pandey, is no stranger to controversy. She is the national secretary of the All India Hindu Mahasabha, and had told reporters that just like effigies of Ravana are burned every year on Dussehra, she would like to make it a tradition to shoot at Gandhi’s effigies each year on 30 January — the day he was shot dead by Nathuram Godse.
Pandey and her husband Ashok are now in a legal soup after the police filed an FIR against them. While others say that Pandey has gone underground after the FIR, her husband told ThePrint over the phone that they had gone to the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.
But according to Ashok, killing for their worldview is something the couple have encouraged their children to learn.
“We have trained our children to kill anyone who challenges the unity of our motherland… Our children will not be as naive as us, they will kill many more before they get killed,” he said.
Gandhi the pervert, and Godse’s sacrifice
A mathematics professor by profession, Pandey is a firebrand leader who often attracts media attention with her outlandish statements and actions.
“Poojaji is an extremely brave woman, who has taken sanyaas from ordinary life to serve the cause of Hindutva,” Ashok said. “It’s a tragedy that in our country, an FIR is registered for shooting a pervert like Gandhi, who slept naked with his niece, and is responsible for the death of lakhs of Hindus.”
The presence of the media at the spot was no coincidence: Ashok had alerted the local media a day in advance. “How else will the country’s youth learn about Godse’s sacrifice? How will they know he is the real mahatma?” he asked.
Just last year, Pandey, who is a woman judge of the country’s first ‘Hindu Court’ (on the lines of Sharia courts) in Meerut, said if she was born before Nathuram Godse, she would have killed Mahatma Gandhi with her own hands.
“He (Gandhi) was responsible for the division of India and killings of several lakh Hindus during Partition. I will murder anyone who talks about further of division of the country,” she had reportedly said.
Criticism of BJP govt too
BJP leaders have sought to distance themselves from Pandey. Satish Gautam, the BJP MP from Aligarh, refused to comment on the controversy. However, old photographs of Pandey standing with or close to senior BJP leaders like Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Uma Bharati have surfaced in the media.
Yet, she hasn’t shied away from criticising or openly challenging the BJP government either. Last year, on the occasion of the Hindu New Year, she announced that the Hindu Mahasabha has taken a vow to convert India into a Hindu Rashtra within a year. She went on to state that the government must oblige, and begin by rechristening all the “Muslim-occupied temples” like the Taj Mahal and Qutub Minar, and rebuilding temples there.
According to Ashok, she has also played an integral role in starting the movement for an “eco-friendly” Eid ul-Adha/Bakra-Eid, and in raising the issue of triple talaq all over UP.
In 2017, proposing a solution to triple talaq, Pandey asked all Muslim women who have been victims of triple talaq and nikah halala to convert to Hinduism to get justice.
Also read: For much of his political career, Narendra Modi has been trained to dislike Mahatma Gandhi
‘Valiant activism for a pure cause’
Arguing that it is “unfortunate” that the country and the law don’t recognise her valiant activism for “a pure cause”, Ashok said: “Right now, we are being bullied by the lawmakers for shooting at Gandhi’s effigy, but soon, this will be done in every part of India by every child.”
Mukesh Misra, another Hindu Mahasabha leader, agreed. “Gandhi is the equivalent of Jinnah…both divided India. Our heroes are Veer Savarkar and Nathuram Godse,” he said.
Some Hindu groups like the Hindu Mahasabha, Hindu Sena, etc. commemorate Gandhi’s death anniversary as “Shaurya Diwas” (bravery day) to celebrate Godse’s ‘valour’.
“Celebrating Shaurya Diwas must be mainstreamed in India,” Misra said.
Also read: 2 Hindu Mahasabha leaders booked in UP for setting up ‘religious tribunals’
They are cowards, other wise they would have not run away… Hindu terror finally after many denials is showing it’s ugly head… These are the Anita nationals who should be put to death for sedation against the father of nation… As an example for other terrorists who are using the Religion of Hinduism to kill people…
what answer have those to khiljis and likes as above Pandey’s r right answer to these traitors and must be encouraged to destroy every Bhatkal shahubudin Geelani Omar Khan’s and company Wakeup Hindus
You can train them as much as you want, they still remain, ugly little run of the mill runts. You will raise havoc for little wile and men will come and they will kill you just like in the past. So do what you must, and wait, we are waiting with you.
President of All India Christian Council Condemns Bigoted Attack on Mahatma Gandhi
The leader of Hindu Mahasabha — the Hindu nationalist organization behind the 1948 assassination —reenacted Gandhi’s murder on the 71st anniversary of his death.
31 January 2019, HYDERABAD, India
Most Rev. Joseph D’Souza releases the following statement condemning the reenactment of Mahatma Gandhi’s by right-wing extremists on the 71st anniversary of his assassination.
“To those who believe Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle for a free, united and democratic India is over, this brazen act of symbolic terror should serve as a reminder that the forces of hatred and intolerance are still very much alive within our borders.
“The reenactment of Gandhi’s murder on the 71st anniversary of his death, to the sound of loud cheers, is an affront to every Indian. Its condemnation should ring louder across India than its celebration.
“Gandhi was the apostle of nonviolence. His tolerance toward all was the hallmark of his character. Without his intervention at the time of partition, India would have descended into a long, bloody period of religious violence. It was Gandhi who stood by our constitution, which gives every Indian the right to become full citizens of India. More than anyone else, he contributed to the idea of Indian nationhood, which is built on citizenship and not on religious affiliation.
“In light of the recent violence that has erupted against Dalits, Muslims and even secular Hindus, this is a foreboding development, especially since many politicians have remained too passive to stop extremists from persecuting those who disagree with them.
“Right-wing extremists — including the Hindu Mahasabha and it’s offshoots of which Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse was a member — have never accepted the partition of India. They see it as a national sacrilege. But what they fail to realize is that it’s precisely this kind of religious extremism on both sides — by Hindus and Muslims — that led to the dismemberment of India. This extremism is still alive today, and if it gets out of control, it has the potential to cause the disintegration of present-day India.
“Those of us who love India must work all the more harder to protect Gandhi’s vision for our democracy. But we must do this not with violence or hatred, as those who wish to tear India apart do, but with love and tolerance, as the Father of our Nation taught us.”
Rev Madhu Chandra
National Secretary – All India Christian Council
Most Rev. Joseph D’Souza is the moderator bishop — or archbishop in Anglican tradition — of the Good Shepherd Church and Associated Ministries of India. He also serves as the president of the All India Christian Council and is the founder and international president of Dignity Freedom Network. He is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades for his work as a civil rights activist. Additional biographical information is available here.
Don’t make her a martyr by arresting her, or filing a case of sedition. Distasteful though her thoughts, words and actions are, treat them as part of the freedom of speech, which is a constitutional right. Let ordinary Indians of good conscience understand where the fount of this sickness lies, what role it should play in our national life.
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