Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Bhopal for Lok Sabha Election 2019 Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur said that Hemant Karkare, Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad chief who died during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, got what he deserved. She said the IPS officer died because of his ‘karma’ referring to his investigation which led to the arrest of Pragya and other Hindutva outfit members.
While in Bhopal, Pragya alleged that Karkare had apparently said that he does not need evidence against the BJP candidate to prove her crime in court of law. “ATS took me from Surat to Mumbai on 10 October, 2008. I was a hostage for 13 days. Male ATS personnel tortured me a lot during this time. Karkare was cursed by the sannyasis and just 45 days after I went to jail he was killed by terrorists in 26/11 terror attacks.”
Pragya, however, skips the part where she has been named prime accused in the Malegaon blasts. “The investigating officers told Karkare to let me go. They said he does not have any proof. But Karkare said that he will do anything, bring evidence against me, but will not let me go.”
Pragya, who is facing trial in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, joined the BJP on 17 April, 2019 and is contesting from the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat and is pitted against Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh. “I will contest the election from Bhopal and win. Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is with me,” Pragya said.
The BJP has been holding Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, where about 4.5 lakh of the 18 lakh voters are Muslim, since 1989. According to sources, BJP leaders went into a huddle after Digvijay Singh’s candidature was announced. In the 2018 Assembly elections, the Congress won three out of the eight assembly segments in the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, and in the remaining segments the BJP’s victory margin decreased.
Thakur had recently said she was ready for a “Dharm Yudh”. “I am ready to take on Digvijaya Singh if the sanghatan (organisation, apparently referring to the BJP) asks me to do so,” Pragya had told PTI last month.
Born in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh, Thakur has had a long association with the Sangh Parivar. A post-graduate in history, she worked with the RSS’ student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Durga Vahini, women’s wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Arrested in the 2008 Malegaon blast 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.
She was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in 2017. Six people were killed and over 100 injured when a bomb went off near a mosque in Malegaon in north Maharashtra, on 29 September, 2008. According to the prosecution, it was the handiwork of a Hindu extremist group.