After BJP chief Amit Shah, yoga guru Ramdev today came out in support of Pragya Singh Thakur, the BJP candidate from Bhopal for the national elections. Calling Pragya Thakur a "nationalist", Ramdev said she her alleged torture for nine years in jail stressed her out to the point she got diagnosed with cancer. Pragya Thakur is out on bail in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case.
Saying she was arrested on mere suspicion, Ramdev said she was tortured in jail "as if she was a terrorist".
"It was gunaah ki parakashtha (the height of atrocity). You arrest a person just on the basis of mere suspicion and make her undergo physical and mental torture for nine years. The stress that she had to endure weakened her physically and she got afflicted with cancer. She is not a terrorist but a nationalist lady," Ramdev told reporters.
The yoga guru was in the city to accompany Ravi Shankar Prasad while the union minister filed nomination for Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency.
Speaking on Pragya Thakur's recent controversial comments on 26/11 Mumbai blasts hero Hemant Karkare, Ramdev urged people to show her some empathy.
"We should show some empathy for the woman who and try to understand her ordeal and the bitterness it must have given rise to," he said.
Pragya Thakur had boasted that Hemant Karkare died because she had "cursed" him.
"I had told him you will be finished, and he was killed by terrorists in less than two months," she bragged at a press conference flanked by BJP leaders who clapped at the appalling words.
Her remarks faced massive backlash and she took back her words, saying he was "certainly a martyr."
On asked if he would campaign for Pragya Thakur in Bhopal, Ramdev quipped, "What I have said is enough to provide you with headlines. Please be content with that".
Pragya Thakur has also found support in the BJP leadership. BJP chief Amit Shah had recently defended Pragya Thakur saying she was framed in false cases by those who had coined the term "Hindu terror" and defended her candidature by calling it an "absolutely right decision".
BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya also supported Pragya Thakur today and said that during the UPA regime, people like her were tortured in an attempt to prove that Hindus were terrorists.
"The kind of allegations and oppression Sadhvi Pragya faced is rarely seen in our history after Independence. The torment she faced has deeply affected her," Mr Vijayvargiya said.
The election in Bhopal, where the main contest is Pragya Thakur and Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh, will be held on May 12. The results will be announced on May 23.
(with inputs from PTI)