Gun-lov­ing In­dia ‘god-woman’ who shot wed­ding guests

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Sad­hvi Deva Thakur, a self-pro­claimed In­dian god-woman who was on the run for three days af­ter fir­ing cel­e­bra­tory shots in the air at a wed­ding, has sur­ren­dered to a court. The groom’s aunt was killed and three of his rel­a­tives crit­i­cally wounded in the in­ci­dent.

In a video of the in­ci­dent that took place on Tues­day in the north­ern state of Haryana, Sad­hvi Deva Thakur is first seen fir­ing from a re­volver and then a dou­ble-bar­relled gun. A few of her guards are also seen shoot­ing along with her.

In­dian me­dia re­ports quoted stunned guests at the wed­ding as say­ing that the Sad­hvi, which is the Hindi word for holy woman or god woman, walked up to the dance floor, asked the DJ to play a song of her choice, and be­gan danc­ing. And, much to the hor­ror of ev­ery­one around, shoot­ing. Re­ports said fam­i­lies of both the bride and the groom pleaded with her to stop, but their en­treaties fell on deaf ears.

It was only when the groom’s 50-year-old aunt col­lapsed af­ter be­ing hit by a stray bul­let and three oth­ers were crit­i­cally in­jured, that the fir­ing stopped. In the con­fu­sion that fol­lowed, the Sad­hvi and her six guards es­caped. Po­lice reg­is­tered a case of mur­der against the seven and, on Fri­day, they all sur­ren­dered in a mag­is­trate’s court. They have been re­manded in po­lice cus­tody for five days.

Since the wed­ding there has been no com­ment from her or any of her rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

But this is not the first time that Sad­hvi Thakur, vice-pres­i­dent of a fringe Hindu or­gan­i­sa­tion All In­dia Hindu Ma­hasabha, has been in the news for the wrong rea­sons.

Last year, po­lice reg­is­tered a case against her for say­ing that Mus­lims and Chris­tians must un­dergo ster­il­i­sa­tion to re­strict their grow­ing pop­u­la­tions.

“The pop­u­la­tion of Mus­lims and Chris­tians is grow­ing ev­ery day. To con­trol this, the gov­ern­ment should bring in a law to stop Mus­lims and Chris­tians from pro­duc­ing so many chil­dren. They should be forced to un­dergo ster­il­i­sa­tion so that they can’t in­crease their num­bers,” she told a gath­er­ing. The Sad­hvi said she agreed with some Hindu na­tion­al­ist lead­ers’ sug­ges­tion­that Hindu women must have more chil­dren to counter the threat of be­com­ing a mi­nor­ity re­li­gion in their own coun­try. “How do you com­pete with a line that keeps get­ting longer? You draw a line next to it that’s even longer,” she said.

In an­other con­tro­ver­sial re­mark, the DNA news­pa­per quoted her as say­ing that idols of Hindu gods and god­desses should be placed in mosques and churches and that a statue of Nathu­ram Godse, the as­sas­sin of Ma­hatma Gandhi, should be in­stalled in Haryana.

The Sad­hvi was born and grew up in Bras, a small vil­lage in Karnal dis­trict, and a few years ago, set up an ashram in her vil­lage. She has a small fol­low­ing and most of her fol­low­ers are lo­cal vil­lagers.

A lo­cal jour­nal­ist says she is a known pub­lic­ity-seeker with a fancy life­style.

The 27-year-old is al­ways dressed in saf­fron robes from head to toe, she ap­pears to have a fond­ness for gold jew­ellery, and guns.

Her Face­book page, man­aged by her brother Ra­jeev Thakur, de­scribes her as the direc­tor of the Deva In­dia Foun­da­tion and has her pro­claim­ing to be “a na­tion­al­ist”. She joined the Hindu Ma­hasabha two years ago. Dharam­pal Si­wach, a se­nior Hindu Ma­hasabha mem­ber in Haryana, told the BBC that he trav­elled along with the Sad­hvi to their party’s Delhi head­quar­ters two years ago.

“She was ap­pointed as the na­tional vice-pres­i­dent of the party af­ter I lob­bied on her be­half,” he said.

“But soon we stopped invit­ing her to our func­tions and events be­cause she was get­ting pho­tographed with guns and that made us very un­com­fort­able.”

The video of Tues­day’s tragic in­ci­dent is a tes­ti­mony to her love for weaponry. And this time, it seems, she may have shot her­self in the foot.

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