The Election Commission (EC) is going to issue a notice to Malegaon blast accused and BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Singh Thakur over her remarks against police officer Hemant Karkare, who was killed in the 26/11 terror attack, an officer said Saturday.
Pragya Thakur on Friday triggered a major outcry after she said former Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare had died during the 26/11 terror attacks because of her “curse” and his “karma”.
Having invited criticism from several quarters across the country, she later sought to withdraw her comment and apologised.
Thakur is a prime accused in the September 29, 2008, Malegaon blast in which six people were killed and nearly 100 sustained injuries. She has spent many years in jail in connection with the case and is currently out on bail. Thakur joined the BJP earlier this week and has been fielded from Bhopal to contest the Lok Sabha election against senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh.
Karkare was killed by Ajmal Kasab and another terrorist during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008.
At a public meeting in the Madhya Pradesh capital on Friday morning, the 48-year-old recounted the episode of her arrest and interrogation.
“Karkare asked me various questions and I replied ‘God knows’. At this, Karkare asked whether he would have to go to God to get the answers. Then, I told him that he would be destroyed and he was cursed… within a month and a half, he fell victim to the terrorists’ bullets,” Thakur could be heard saying (in Hindi) in a video released by news agency ANI.
The comments kicked up a major row, with the Indian Police Service Association issuing a statement condemning her remarks. Opposition parties Congress, AAP and AIMIM too attacked Thakur and the BJP over her remarks.
“We took suo motu cognisance of the statement and sought a report from the assistant returning officer (ARO) on the matter. We got the report this morning and we are going to issue notices, which are returnable within 24 hours, to the organiser of the programme and the person who made the statement,” District Election Officer and Bhopal Collector Sudam Khade told PTI.
“We are going to send the ARO report to the EC,” he said.
Khade said that the organiser of the event had been given permission on certain conditions as the model code of conduct was in force.
According to another EC official, as per the conditions set before giving permission to the event, use of objectionable language to defame a particular person had been prohibited.
Late on Friday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had BJP’s decision to field Pragya Singh Thakur in the Lok Sabha elections saying that it was a symbolic reply to all those who labelled the Hindu civilisation as “terrorist”.
Pragya Thakur was arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. She was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in 2017. She was facing charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), which have now been dropped but she is facing trial under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).