- Hemant Karkare was anti-national, anti-religion: Sadhvi Pragya
- Hemant Karkare died fighting terrorists during the 26/11 Mumbai attack
- He had probed charges against Sadhvi Pragya in the Malegaon blast case
Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, the 2008 Malegaon blasts accused contesting the national election as a BJP candidate, has boasted that 26/11 hero Hemant Karkare died because she had "cursed" him. "I had told him you will be finished, and he was killed by terrorists in less than two months," bragged Sadhvi Pragya at a press conference on Thursday, flanked by BJP leaders who clapped at the execrable words.
Hemant Karkare died fighting terrorists during the November 26, 2008 attack in Mumbai in which 166 people were killed.
As the chief of Maharashtra's anti-terror squad, Hemant Karkare had investigated Sadhvi Pragya in connection with the blasts in Malegaon two months before that.
"The investigation team called Hemant Karkare and said if you do not have evidence, let her go. He said, I will do anything to get evidence against her. I won't let her go. This was his hatred (kuteelta). He was anti-national. He was dharam virudh (anti-religion). You won't believe, but I said, 'tera sarvanashhoga'. Just after 'sawa' month, terrorists killed him," said Sadhvi Pragya to reporters on Thursday.
She was flanked by BJP leaders who are seen applauding comments that seem incongruous to their party's anti-terror and nationalistic narrative in this election campaign.
"That day, there was a sutak (inauspicious period) on him. That sutak ended the day he was killed," she said, giving examples of mythical villains killed because of the curse of saints.
Mr Karkare was the first officer to investigate the blasts on September 29, 2008, in which six people were killed and 101 injured in Malegaon, a town 250 km from Mumbai. Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya and others were arrested and charged with plotting the blasts.
Sadhvi Pragya, Accused Number 1 in the case, was given a clean chit by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2015, but the trial court refused to let her off.
The NIA had said there was no evidence against her, but the court had said it was difficult to accept since her motorcycle was used in the blast.
The court dropped charges against her under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) but the trial is still on under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. She was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in 2017 on health grounds.
She joined the BJP this week and was immediately named as the party's candidate from Bhopal for the election.
The BJP's Shahnawaz Hussain has criticized the comments, saying: "Those who died for the country, we consider them martyrs. We don't raise questions on their martyrdom."
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