BJP distances from Sadhvi Pragya’s remark on Hemant Karkare, IPS Association says statement an insult to martyr

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Updated: April 19, 2019 6:23 PM

Taking cognizance of the matter, Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer said a complaint has been received against Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur for her comments on 26/11 martyr.

BJP candidate from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur’s comments on 26/11 martyr and former Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare has come in for widespread condemnation. The 2008 Malegaon blast case accused and BJP candidate from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat today said at a press conference that the 26/11 martyr met his unfortunate end due to his karma and that she had cursed him for falsely implicating her.

Taking cognizance of the matter, Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer said a complaint has been received against BJP’s Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate for her comments on 26/11 martyr. The matter is under enquiry, news agency ANI reported.

The remark also came in for condemnation from the IPS Officers’ Association. “Ashok Chakra awardee late Sri 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,” the association said in a statement issued today through its official Twitter handle.

Read | Sadhvi Pragya Thakur: From Malegaon blast accused to BJP’s Bhopal candidate – A timeline of events

The BJP leader’s remarks against the late police officer also drew flak from political opponents. Reacting to Thakur’s statement, Congress’ candidate from Bhopal Digvijay Singh said, “Hemant Karkare was a dedicated officer. He laid down his life for the country and we should be proud of him. No one should comment on it.”

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal hit out at Thakur for her “disgraceful” comments. He tweeted: Disgraceful comments by BJP’s Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate Pragya Thakur on 26/11 martyr Hemant Karkare ji need to be condemned in strongest terms. BJP is showing its true colours & it must be shown it’s place now.

AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted, “Hemant Karkare died fighting people not very different from yourself. He didn’t die because a terror accused ‘felt bad’ & ‘cursed’ him. The man died fighting to protect our rights to vote & elect a government. How DARE BJP insult our martyrs like this?”

As the backlash grew, the BJP issued a statement Friday evening distancing itself from the remarks by Sadhvi Pragya and said that it has always considered Karkare a martyr. “BJP considers him a martyr. This is Sadhvi Pragya’s personal statement which she might have given because of the mental & physical torture she had faced,” it said.

Also read | Bar Sadhvi Pragya from contesting election, Malegaon blast victim’s father urges court

Addressing BJP workers on Thursday night, Thakur claimed that Karkare had made up his mind not to release her. “He tortured me and subjected me to harsh abuse which was unbearable. I told him he will be destroyed. A little over a month later ‘sutak’ (ritual observed after death of a family member) was going to start…just over a month later, he was shot dead by terrorists and the inauspicious period ended,” she had said.

Karkare was killed while fighting terrorists during 26/11 Mumbai attack in 2008 and was later awarded the Ashok Chakra in 2009. He was leading the probe into the 2008 Malegaon attack, in which six persons were killed and 101 were injured. Thakur, a key accused in the case, has been nominated as the BJP’s candidate from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat.

Out on bail, Thakur has been discharged by a court on charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. She is still facing trial under other criminal provisions, including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

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