Saturday, Jun 25, 2022

'I Apologise': Sadhvi Pragya Withdraws Her Remarks On Hemant Karkare After Backlash

Sadhvi Pragya, the BJP candidate for Lok Sabha elections from Bhopal, had said that former ATS chief Hemant Karkare died during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks as she "cursed" him for torturing her.

'I Apologise': Sadhvi Pragya Withdraws Her Remarks On Hemant Karkare After Backlash
BJP's Sadhvi Pragya on Friday evening apologised for her remarks on former ATS chief Hemant Karkare, who was killed during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack File Photo

After Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur's comment on IPS officer Hemant Karkare sparked a political controversy in the midst of Lok Sabha elections, the BJP leader, out on bail on 2008 Malegaon blast,  on Friday evening apologised for her remarks and said she takes back her statement.

Sadhvi Pragya on Thursday claimed that Karkare died during the attacks as she "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," Pragya said on Thursday while addressing a rally of BJP workers in Bhopal on Thursday.

The BJP on Wednesday fielded Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal seat, where she is set to have a direct contest with Congress heavyweight and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

The BJP distanced itself from the controversial remarks, describing them as "personal", but the late IPS officer's colleagues berated her for insulting him.

The Congress said Prime Minister Narendra Modi must apologise for Pragya Thakurs remarks on Karkare and take action against her.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the remarks were an insult to every soldier who has sacrificed his life for the country while fighting terrorism.

The IPS Association condemned the remarks against the late police officer.

"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 tweeted.

The BJP said it was her personal view which she might have made "due to years of physical and mental torture".

"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," the party said.

Reacting to Pragya's statement, 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."

AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi slammed Pragya for her remarks.

"Hemant Karkare died fighting people not very different from yourself. He didnt 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?" he tweeted.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hit out at Pragya for her "disgraceful" comments.

"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," he tweeted.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Office sources said a complaint has been received against Pragya Singh Thakur for her comments on Karkare. The matter is under enquiry, they said.

Out on bail, Pragya (48) has been discharged by a court on charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the 2008 case, but is still facing trial under other criminal provisions, including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.