Sadhvi Pragya in trouble for remark on Hemant Karkare, Election Commission seeks reply within 24 hours

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Updated: Apr 20, 2019 4:45 PM

Her remarks against Karkare raised a political storm on Friday with opposition parties attacking the BJP and the Congress demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon blasts case, joined the BJP earlier this week. (PTI Photo)

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has sent a notice to BJP’s Bhopal Lok Sabha seat candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, seeking a response over her remarks against former Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief late Hemant Karkare. The EC has set a 24-hour deadline within which she has to respond.

“We took suo motu cognisance of the statement and sought a report from the assistant returning officer (ARO) on the matter. We got the report this morning and we are going to issue notices, which are returnable within 24 hours, to the organiser of the programme and the person who made the statement,” District Election Officer and Bhopal Collector Sudam Khade had earlier told news agency PTI.

As per the conditions set before giving permission to the event, use of objectionable language to defame a particular person had been prohibited, according to EC.

Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon blasts case, joined the BJP earlier this week and soon after was named party’s candidate from Bhopal against senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh.

Thakur had claimed that 26/11 martyr Karkare died because she had cursed him for torturing 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 while addressing BJP party workers Thursday night.

Read | By fielding Sadhvi Pragya, BJP has made the election about Hindutva, not development

Her remarks against Karkare raised a political storm on Friday with opposition parties attacking the BJP and the Congress demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As the backlash grew, the BJP too distanced itself from her remarks, saying it was her personal view which she might have made “due to years of physical and mental torture”. Later in the evening, Sadhvi Pragya apologised for her comment that evoked sharp reactions from all the quarters.

Meanwhile, PM Narendra Modi broke his silence on the issue and defended Thakur’s candidature from Bhopal. In an interview to Times Now, PM Modi asked why no such questions were being asked when Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi were contesting from the Amethi and Rae Bareli constituencies, respectively, despite being on “bail”.

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