It wasn’t enough for her to proclaim that cow urine is a cure for cancer.
Now a firebrand Hindu nun-turned-lawmaker has suggested that political opponents are using “black magic” to harm Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, after three top members died this month.
“I met a holy man during the elections who warned that the opposition might use black magic and killing powers against the BJP,” said the controversial, newly elected Sadhvi Pragya Thakur from Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.
“He warned because of the evil powers bad times are upon us and it would harm the party and the leaders who are efficient, hardworking and manage the party affairs,” she said in Bhopal, adding that the saint cautioned her to take “precautions.”
On Saturday finance minister Arun Jaitley died, following Babulal Gaur, a former state chief minister, and former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj earlier this month. All had been suffering from long illnesses.
Thakur became a national lawmaker in elections earlier this year despite being charged with terrorism and criminal conspiracy over a deadly 2008 bomb blast.
The bombing that killed six people and injured more than 100 others was one of scores of attacks that investigators said were carried out by Hindu militant groups to target Muslims.
Police say her motorbike was used to carry the explosives used in the attack in Malegaon, and that she took part in a key planning meeting before it was staged.
Thakur spent nine years in detention as India’s notoriously slow legal system dragged on. Released on bail in 2017, she denies the charges and accuses then-ruling Congress party of implicating her to defame Hindus.
She also dubbed this year’s general election a dharma yuddha or religious war, Asian News International reported.
She won an emphatic victory, taking 62 percent of the vote for a seat in the central industrial city of Bhopal.
Indian election rules allow anyone to stand for office as long as the candidate has not been convicted of a crime.
Thakur only joined the BJP in April and the party stunned many when it named her as a parliamentary candidate the next month.
She courted controversy throughout the campaign, telling journalists that the radical Hindu who assassinated Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi was a “patriot.” That remark earned her a rebuke from Modi.
Thakur also raised eyebrows by claiming that drinking cow urine had helped cure her cancer and extolling the benefits of drinking a concoction of milk, butter and cow dung.
The BJP has regularly jumped to her defense. Party president Amit Shah, now India’s home affairs minister, has called the terrorism charges against her “fake.”
The Congress party, which was trounced in the election, has denounced her as symbolic of the rise of extreme Hindu nationalism in India under Modi.
A spokesperson for the Congress said Tuesday that the 49-year-old has lost her mental balance and advised her to undergo treatment.
But then what we now call mental illness used to be (and in some places still is) called . . . witchcraft.