Flamboyant Indian ‘god woman’ and nationalist politician Sadhvi Deva Thakur has surrendered after a shooting incident at a wedding in which one person died and four others injured.
According to this report, All Indian Hindu Mahasabha leader Thakur gave herself up today at a local court in Karnal, Haryana after she and her associates had fired guns in in the air on Tuesday.
In a video of the incident that took place in the northern state of Haryana, Sadhvi Deva Thakur is first seen firing from a revolver and then a double-barrel 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.
Then, much to the horror of everyone around, began 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 seven people.
Since the wedding there has been no comment from her or any of her representatives.
Last year, police registered a case against her for saying that Muslims and Christians must undergo sterilisation to restrict their growing population. She ignited fury after telling a gathering:
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.
The Sadhvi said she agreed with some Hindu nationalist leaders’ suggestion that Hindu women must have more children to counter the threat of becoming a minority religion in their own country.
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. But soon we stopped inviting her to our functions and events because she was getting photographed with guns and that made us very uncomfortable.
Hat tip: Trevor Blake