Pragya Thakur, Farooq Abdullah nominated on key defence panel

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be chairing the committee, which will comprise 12 members from Lok Sabha and 9 from Rajya Sabha. Photo: PTI file.

BJP MP Pragya Thakur and three-time chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah, who is detained under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), have been nominated to the crucial parliamentary consultative committee on defence.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be chairing the committee, which will comprise 12 members from Lok Sabha and 9 from Rajya Sabha. Thakur will be a part of the 21-member committee headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, was elected as the MP of the Bhopal constituency after defeating former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Thakur’s nomination has created a stir in political circles, with the Opposition questioning the appointment of a blast accused to a Parliamentary Panel. Pragya is currently on bail on grounds of ill health.

Slamming the Centre for its decision, the Congress said Thakur’s nomination was an insult to nation’s defence forces, parliamentarians and to every Indian.

“It is unfortunate for the country that an MP accused of spreading terror has been nominated as member of a defence-related committee. Modi has not been able to forgive her from the heart but she has been given the responsibility of important issues such as the country’s defence. That is why if there is Modi, anything is possible,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a tweet.

Thakur has been at the receiving end of criticisms for her controversial statements. In May, she was heavily slammed for calling Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi as a “patriot”. Months later, she had called Mahatma Gandhi the “son of the nation”, leaving the BJP embarrassed. Earlier, she had claimed that ATS chief Hemant Karkare died due her “curse”, for “torturing” her in the Malegaon blast interrogations. Karkare was martyred during the 26/11 terror attack.

Farooq Abdullah was placed under house arrested on August 5 after the Centre announced the withdrawal of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, besides bifurcating it into two union territories. The Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Parliamentary seat was slapped with the controversial Public Safety Act on September 17.

According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Minister of State for Defence Shripad Yesso Naik, BJP’s J P Nadda, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, TMC’s Sougata Roy and DMK’s A Raja are also members of the panel.

Besides the 21 MPs, the committee also has Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muraleedharan, both junior ministers for parliamentary affairs, as its ex-officio members.

(With inputs from agencies)