A la Martyrdom: In Re Hemant Karkare / Sadhvi Pragya

By: Parmanand Pandey, Advocate, Supreme Court (Secretary General IPC)

Sadhvi Pragya is a candidate of BJP contesting for Parliament from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh state and her rival is Digvijay Singh nominated as a candidate by Congress party. Sadhvi Pragya has courted a controversy by making a statement that she was brutally tortured by the police officer named Hemant Karkare (who was then leading ATS – anti terrorist squad – team of Maharashtra police officers); that she had cursed Karkare for his illegal and inhuman treatment of her; and that as a result of her curse, Karkare was killed within few days by the bullets of Pakistani terrorists who had attacked Mumbai Taj Hotel in 2008, known as 26/11 of India. Questions have been raised by many so-called neutral intellectuals in general and by Congress quarters in particular alleging that Hemant Karkare was martyred in performing his official duty and Sadhvi Pragya has insulted his memory by making such statement.

It is perfectly possible that he might have illegally tortured a woman held under his custody and also he was killed by the terrorists – enemies of India – while performing his duty and, thus, was martyred. Both aspects may be facts and may be stated so without any undertone of sentiments.

This controversy has arisen today because Sadhvi Pragya has been fighting election against her arch rival. It may evoke sentiments from rival camps today in the matter of the estimation of the merits of Hemant Karkare. But it was not so way back in 2008 while so estimating his merits as a police officer performing his official duty. Fortunately, information technology while recording the events narrated by a person has made it possible to also record its date and time. Here is an old estimation.

This is from the blog that I wrote way back in 2008 after the Mumbai terror attack. Even at that time also Hemant Karkare’s unprofessionalism was evident. His role in combating terrorism was next to nil. Sadhvi Pragya Thakur is new to politics and she cannot mask her feelings. Therefore, when she said that she had cursed Hemant Karkare, she was politically incorrect but how can you expect a person to conceal her/his agonies, when she was immeasurably tortured by an officer of Karkare’s rank. The link of the blog is given below. However, for the convenience of the readers, I am also reproducing the same:-

Has Hemant Karkare’s martyrdom gone waste?

Horrendous terrorists, attack on Mumbai’s Hotel Taj & Trident, Nariman Point and Chhatrapati Shivaji Railway Terminal on 26/11 has left a deep scar on the psyche of the people. Innumerable questions are flying thick and fast from all four corners of the country and abroad as well. The role of the Pakistani army is despicable and stands exposed to the whole world. But what will you do for the enemies within the country and are holding high posts? While the whole nation is shocked to shell and wants to teach the befitting lesson to the perpetrators of the terrorism, there is a section in our country which wants to obfuscate the issue for the benefit of Pakistan, which is the hub centre of training for terrorists.

Now the doubts are being created as to how Maharashtra’s Anti Terrorists Squad Chief Hemant Karkare was killed along with three other brave officers. We have seen the whole host of theories coming from different quarters. If one keeps track of Pakistani media, one would be stunned to see that there is a lot of praise for the bravery of Hemant Karkare. Mind it, a section of rabidly communal media of Pakistan is unabashedly propounding a theory that 26/11 was a drama enacted and staged by Hindu Zionists in collaboration with the Indian Military. This amply demonstrates that by and large Pakistani society derives perverted pleasure in the sufferings of Indians in such types of barbarous and ghastly attacks.

Here I have a point, which I want others to consider and let me know with her or his opinion. Hemant Karkare was supposed to be a highly trained and intelligent officer. He was the chief of the ATS. He was the boss, not supposed to take orders from anybody but to give orders to other subordinate officers. A trained officer like him must be able to take quick decisions and he should have relatively better comprehension about planning, design and strategy of terrorists than of any other person. However, with all respect, I must say here that at the time of the crisis of this magnitude he could not come up to the expectations of his stature. Anybody, who had seen him in the television visuals coming in the vehicle to the place of occurrence will vouchsafe that his gait was sluggish and very uninspiring. He was looking very leisurely. After getting down from the vehicle he walked down a few paces in a un-agile manner. A constable came running to him with an old helmet and helped him wear it. He appeared to be very callous which was absolutely not befitting to the commander of the team, who was going to lead from the front. He was helped in putting on an ineffective bulletproof jacket. At that time he was not exuding any confidence. Investigation in peacetime is altogether ball game, which cannot, rpt. cannot be followed in at the time of action that too, when it was a war like situation. He had gone there without any planning, it appeared from the footage of the channels as if he was going for a walk at the marine drive.

Why did he go to the hospital? Why he took three other senior officers along in the vehicle is really baffling. It is difficult to find any convincing answer to it. But one can certainly come to a conclusion that he was not mentally geared up to take up such a challenging task. Otherwise, an officer of his stature would not have done his job in such an amateurish and sluggish manner, as he did. Now if the persons, like Antulay, who have been responsible for the rise of drug peddling and other nefarious activities in Mumbai during his ministership and Chief Ministership are demanding that the death of Hemant Karkare should be probed to find out the reality, one should read their intentions. They are not interested in knowing the truth but they just want to give a handle to the forces that are inimical to India.

To link the death of Karkare with that of Malegoan probe is not only far-fetched but it also shows how far the fertile mind of these people can travel to muddle the real issue. At a time when the whole world is convinced on the basis of foolproof evidence that the terrorism is flourishing in Pakistan with the active support of the ISI and most of the terrorist activities against India are aided and abetted even acted by the Pakistani army any attempt to create diversion tantamount to betrayal with the country. Therefore, the theory of linking the death of Karkare with that of the Malegaon probe should not be taken lightly; such elements should be watched and weeded out. As far as Antulay is concerned, he should have, if he has any sense of shame, resigned from the post of a Union cabinet minister or else, the Prime minister should have sacked him as he is providing anti-India fodder to Pakistan by virtue of the post he holds in the Government. Link to my blog post:

Has Hemant Karkare’s Martyrdom Gone Waste

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