Malegaon blast accused and BJP's Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal Pragya Singh Thakur Sunday said Hindutva and development are synonymous, and termed her electoral battle a "Dharmyuddh" (crusade) against those maligning the religion by coining terms like saffron terror.
In her first remarks after a 72-hour campaign ban by the Election Commission ended, she said her rival candidate Digvijay Singh of the Congress was one of the main proponents of "saffron terror".
"I am waging a Dharmyuddh against those who maligned Sanatan Dharma by coming out with the term 'Bhagwa Aatankawad' (saffron terror), sent me to jail and tortured me under the garb of law," she told PTI here.
Claiming that she faced "atrocities" in the jail, the blast accused said there was no evidence against her and she was given a "clean chit" by the National Investigation Agency(NIA).
"I have personally forgiven those who tortured me and made me suffer atrocities. I am contesting the elections also to ensure no woman faces the atrocities I suffered in jail," she said.
Arrested in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, she was given a clean chit by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), but the trial court refused to discharge her from the case.
The court dropped the charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against her, and she is now being tried under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
She was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in 2017.
Speaking about her entry in politics, Thakur said the condition in the country and vote bank politics prompted her to accept the challenge of contesting Lok Sbha polls.
"The Congress always divided the society to gain political benefits. I want to end this vote bank politics. Santan Dharma which professed universal brotherhood was branded as 'Bhagwa Aatankwad' which also needed to be fought."
"Those who conspired to malign the Sanatan Dharm -- and Hindutva by coining the term 'saffron terror' have acted as anti-national. Their act is anti-religious and anti-national," she charged.
Six people were killed and over 100 injured when a bomb went off near a mosque in Malegaon in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.
"My struggle is not an individual's fight. I am just a source who is fighting to uphold Hindutva," she said.
Thakur said Hindutva and development are "synonymous".
The BJP will come out with a vision document "Bhavishya Ka Bhopal" on May 7. Thakur will release the document.
"A clean Bhopal, security of women, conservation of lakes in the city are some of my priorities," she said.
Born in the Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh,Thakur had a long association with the Sangh parivar.
A post-graduate in history, she worked with the RSS' student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Durga Vahini, the women's wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
The BJP has been holding Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, where about 4.5 lakh of the 18 lakh voters are Muslim, since 1989.
The Election Commission had Wednesday barred Thakur from campaigning for 72 hours for her remarks on former ATS chief Hemant Karkare and Babri mosque demolition.
The ban came into force from 6.00 AM on May 2.