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Karkare died because I cursed him, says Pragya Thakur; retracts after flak
Sadhvi Pragya. PTI

Karkare died because I cursed him, says Pragya Thakur; retracts after flak

IPS association condemns statement; BJP calls ATS chief 'martyr'19 Apr 2019 | 9:32 PM

NEW DELHI: BJP’s Bhopal candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, put her party in an embarrassing situation on Friday when she claimed that late Mumbai anti-terrorist squad chief Hemant Karkare was killed in the Mumbai terror attacks because she had cursed him for torturing her.

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Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 19

BJP’s Bhopal candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, put her party in an embarrassing situation on Friday when she claimed that late Mumbai anti-terrorist squad chief Hemant Karkare, an Ashok Chakra awardee, was killed in the Mumbai terror attacks because she had cursed him for torturing her.

Recounting the “torture” she underwent at Karkare’s hands, she said: “Maine kaha tera (Hemant Karkare) sarvanash hoga. Jis din main gayi thi us din iske sutak lag gaya tha. Aur theek sava mahine mein jis din atankwadiyon ne usko maara, us din uska anth hua. (I cursed him (Hemant Karkare). The day I was picked up, sutak (inauspicious period) began. And exactly after 40 days when terrorists killed him, sutak ended).”

Her “insulting” words against a martyr drew widespread criticism from Opposition parties and on social media. The Indian Police Service Association said, “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.”

Attempting damage control, the BJP, a party that takes great pride in its nationalistic and pro-forces stance, distanced itself from the controversial remarks, attributing them to “physical and mental torture” Sadhvi Pragya underwent while in custody.

“The BJP is of the firm belief that late Hemant Karkare made the supreme sacrifice while bravely fighting terrorists. The BJP has always considered him a martyr.

“So far as the statement of Sadhvi Pragya in this regard is concerned, it is her personal opinion, which could be a result of years of physical and mental torture she underwent,” the saffron party said in a terse two-line statement.

Amid growing furore over her statement, Sadhvi Pragya later in the day said if her statement gave strength to her party’s “enemies” she would prefer to take it back. “Though only I know what I have suffered,” she said.

The BJP is already under fire for fielding Pragya, who is out on bail because citing health conditions, for trying to polarise elections. It is the first time the BJP has had to issue a statement to control a situation. Normally, it would have brazened it out.

Karkare, an investigating officer in the Malegaon blasts case, was killed in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

While probing the case, he tracked down the owner of the motorcycle used in the attacks. It belonged to Sadhvi Pragya.

The BJP believes she and others were falsely implicated.

In the past one decade, Sadhvi Pragya, along with Lt Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit, have came to represent what the Congress-led UPA government termed as “saffron terror” after they were both charged in the 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.

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