Former Chief Minister of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah, who is now under detention, and Malegaon blast accused BJP MP Pragya Thakur have been nominated as members of the consultative committee of Parliament for the Ministry of Defence.
Mr. Abdullah, 81, is a three-time CM and a Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar constituency. He has been under detention at his Srinagar home since September 5, 2019 under the Public Safety Act (PSA). The move came following the Union government’s decision to revoke special status to the State under Article 370 on August 5, 2019.
Due to the detention he has not been able to attend the winter session of Parliament which began on November 18, 2019.
According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, the committee comprises 12 members from the Lok Sabha and nine from the Rajya Sabha and is chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. It also has Shripad Yesso Naik, Minister of State for Defence.
Ms. Thakur, elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time from Bhopal, is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case and is facing trial for charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. She is now out on bail.
She was granted bail by the Bombay High Court on health grounds in April 2017.
Reacting to her nomination, the Congress said an MP accused of “spreading terror” has been appointed on a defence committee.“‘Modi has not been able to forgive her from the heart’ but she has been given responsibility on 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.
Ms. Thakur has been in the news for her controversial remarks. Ahead of the general elections in May, Ms. Thakur made controversial remarks against police officer Hemant Karkare, who was killed in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. She said the late Mr. Karkare had falsely implicated her and because of her curse, he lost his life. This drew sharp criticism from several quarters after which she retracted her comments and apologised.
In another instance, she claimed that Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse was a patriot for which she again apologised later following an outcry. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he would never forgive Ms. Thakur for the comment. The MP was issued a show-cause notice by the BJP ahead of the 2019 general election.