NEW DELHI: The Indian Police Service (IPS) Association on Friday condemned the ‘insulting’ statement made by 2008 Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in reference to former Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) Hemant Karkare.
“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 IPS wrote on their Twitter handle.
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.
— IPS Association (@IPS_Association) April 19, 2019
Karkare was killed along with two other senior police officers while fighting terrorists during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in November 2008.
On Thursday, Thakur, who is also the BJP candidate against Congress’s Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal, said that Karkare lost his life because she had cursed him.
“I called Hemant Karkare and asked him to let me go if there is no evidence (against me). He (Karkare) said that he will bring evidence but will not leave me. I told him — You will be ruined,” she had said.
Following Thakur’s statement on Karkare, a complaint was filed on Friday with the Election Commission in Madhya Pradesh against Sadhvi Praga.
“Complaint received against BJP Lok Sabha candidate for Bhopal, Pragya Singh Thakur, for her comments on 26/11 martyr (former Mumbai ATS Chief Hemant Karkare). Cognizance taken. The matter is under enquiry,” Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer was quoted as saying by ANI
The Opposition launched an attack on the BJP, terming her comment as “disgraceful” and slammed the ruling party for spreading “negative politics”.
Taking to Twitter, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “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.”
Echoing similar sentiments, RJD leader Tejashvi Yadav accused the BJP of indulging in politics of “lies”.
“People like her are spreading negativity in politics. BJP’s ideology is the same as Sadhvi Pragya’s. BJP is indulging in politics of falsehood and lies,” he told reporters in Patna.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya, however, refrained from making any remarks on Thakur’s comments. He, instead, said that such comments on armed forces and martyrs were not to be made and such rules were set by the Election Commission.
“EC has clearly said that no political comments should be made on armed forces and martyrs. Hemant Karkare ji was an honest and committed officer who attained martyrdom for the people of Mumbai in a terror attack. I do not want to comment on it (Thakur’s remarks),” Singh told ANI.
Earlier in the day, the senior Congress leader said that he would not comment on Thakur who is pitted against him from the Bhopal parliamentary seat.
The BJP, meanwhile, distanced itself from the controversial comment of Thakur while stating that it was her personal point of view and would not do politics on Karkare’s death.
“We respect every son and daughter of India who sacrificed their lives for the motherland. What Pragya Ji has said that would evidently be her point of view perhaps because she herself underwent investigation. We salute the sacrifice of Karkare Ji and won’t do politics on it,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli told ANI.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh’s Chief Electoral Officer VL Kantha Rao said a complaint was received against Thakur for her remarks.
“The cognizance has been taken. The matter is under enquiry”, Rao said.
Thakur is among the seven accused facing trial in Malegaon blast case. Six people were killed and a dozen others were injured after a bomb placed on a motorcycle exploded in Maharashtra’s Malegaon on September 29, 2008.
She was arrested in 2008 but was given a clean chit by the National Investigation Agency in 2015 for lack of evidence. However, the trial court refused to let her off, saying it was difficult to accept since her motorcycle was used in the blast.
Thakur has been cleared of charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act and was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in 2017 but remains an accused under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
On Wednesday, she formally joined the BJP and will contest against Digvijaya Singh from Bhopal parliamentary constituency. Several opposition leaders have slammed the BJP for fielding a terror accused in the Lok Sabha elections.
“After spending 10 years in jail due to Congress conspiracy, I have come here to fight the political and religious war,” Thakur had said after joining the BJP.
She is expected to file her nomination from Bhopal on April 23. Bhopal will go to polls on May 12. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.