BHOPAL: Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Bhopal, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, said that former Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare died in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008 because she had “cursed” him that he would be “destroyed.”
Addressing a gathering of BJP workers late on Thursday, the sadhvi alleged she was so severely tortured while in custody that she told Karkare: “Maine kaha tera sarvanash hoga (I told him you will be destroyed).” As her comments kicked up a storm, with condemnation pouring in from a cross-section of political opponents and leaving her party red-faced, the sadhvi apologized on Friday evening and called Karkare a martyr.
“I felt that the enemies of the country were being benefited from it, therefore I take back my statement and apologise for it, it was my personal pain,” she said. “He died from the bullets of terrorists from the enemy country, he is certainly a martyr.”
As the ATS chief, Karkare investigated Pragya Thakur in the Malegaon blast case of September 2008 but died fighting Pakistani terrorists during the Mumbai attack for which he received the Ashok Chakra.
Taking suo moto cognizance of her comments, Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer L Kantha Rao said they had sought a report within 24 hours. “Our team monitors all media content 24x7. We have taken cognizance of the matter and are examining it.”
The IPS officers’ association issued a statement, condemning the comments. “Ashok Chakra awardee late Hemant Karkare, IPS, made the supreme sacrifice fighting terrorists. Those of us in uniform condemn the insulting statement made by a candidate and demand that sacrifices of all our martyrs be respected.”
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said “Hemant Karkare gave his life protecting India. He must be treated with respect.”
Pragya Thakur claimed the probe team told Karkare there was no evidence against her and that she should be released. “But Karkare said even if there was no evidence he would bring it, even create it, so that I am not released. This was his kutilta (hatred), this was desh droh (anti-national) and this was dharma viruddh (against religion).”
SHE said Karkare would repeatedly ask her about the Malegaon blasts but told him “only God knows the answers to your questions. So he asked if would have to meet God to get the answers and I said if the need arises he would have to.”
“The day a child is born or someone dies, a sutak (inauspicious period) of a month and 15 days begins. The day I was illegally detained in the case in 2008, the sutak began and it ended with his (Karkare’s) killing,” she said amid clapping by BJP workers.
EC’s campaign ban on Himachal BJP chief
The Election Commission has banned Himachal Pradesh BJP president Satpal Satti from holding public rallies for 48 hours for his derogatory remark against Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Satti has bee barred from holding public meetings, public processions, public rallies, road shows and interviews, public utterances in (electronic, print, social) media in connection with the Lok Sabha election underway, EC Secretary Rahul Sharma said in the order