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Sadhvi Pragya retracts remark about 26/11 martyr

April 21, 2019

The Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer has said that the statement made by BJP leader Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur regarding 26/11 hero Hemant Karkare is closely under watch. The collector has been asked to file a report.

Sadhvi Pragya is facing a massive backlash over her statement that she cursed Hemant Karkare and has been forced to take back her words to say Karkare was killed by terrorists and is certainly is a martyr.

Speaking to the media, she said "If my remarks made enemies happy, then I take my words back, and I apologise too. Our remarks shouldn't make enemies happy. The pain I went through, it can't be reversed, but terrorists killed Hemant Karkare, he certainly is a martyr".

The BJP had earlier distanced itself from her comments calling them "personal". However, Sadhvi Pragya said the party had not distanced itself. "I said what I felt, party hasn't distanced itself from my remarks, they stated the right thing, that it was my personal account".

The BJP had inducted Sadhvi Pragya earlier this week and made her the candidate from Bhopal for the Lok Sabha elections. The party said her remarks may have been the result of the torture she allegedly faced while in jail for the 2008 Malegaon blasts.

In a statement to the media she had said,

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. - Sadhvi Pragya, BJP Lok Sabha candidate

Several political parties attacked her comments as disgraceful. So have retired Mumbai cops who said Karkare was a fine, upstanding officer and that it was shameful he should be attacked in such a manner when he was no longer alive to defend himself.

However Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defended the decision to field her. "A civilisation, a tradition that has promoted the idea of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' (the world is one family) for the last 5,000 years was branded as terrorists by some. Sadhvi Pragya's candidature from Bhopal is a symbol to answer all those who did this and this symbol will prove costly to the Congress".

Hemant Karkare died fighting terrorists during the 26 November 2008 attack in Mumbai in which 166 people were killed. As chief of Maharashtra's Anti-Terror Squad, he had investigated Sadhvi Pragya in connection with the blasts in Malegaon two months before that.

Sadhvi Pragya also added, "That day, there was a sutak (inauspicious period) on him. That sutak ended the day he was killed."

The BJP, in a statement, said the party considers Karkare a martyr.

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