Narendra Modi too had questioned Hemant Karkare’s integrity

Modi too had accused Hemant Karkare of unprofessional conduct and now by justifying the candidature of terror accused the officer had arrested after due diligence, Modi sullies his memory once again

Narendra Modi too had questioned Hemant Karkare’s integrity

Faraz Ahmad

Narendra Modi, then the chief minister of Gujarat, had flown to Mumbai the day after ATS chief Hemant Karkare and his colleagues were killed by Pakistani terrorists in November, 2008. While one of the terrorists, Ajmal Qasab, was captured alive, others were still holed up in the Taj Hotel and operation by the Indian commandos was still going on when Modi held an impromptu press conference close to the hotel.

The Gujarat Government, Modi announced, had decided to pay one Crore of Rupees to Karkare’s widow. The Gujarat chief minister made a big show of declaring Karkare as a martyr who had laid down his life in the service of the motherland. He then proceeded to meet Karkare’s wife and offer his condolences. She had politely declined the offer and this was widely reported then.

Questions had been raised even then about Narendra Modi’s strange conduct. Why would the Gujarat chief minister react so swiftly to ‘honour’ the memory of a Maharashtra cadre police officer? And especially a police officer who Modi had accused of acting against national interest when he arrested Pragya Singh Thakur and Colonel Purohit in connection with the Malegaon blast case. Indeed, before the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai in 2008, in which Karkare was killed, Modi had been critical and abusive of the Anti-terror Squad (ATS) of Mumbai Police that Karkare headed.

Therefore, when on Friday evening (April 19) Prime Minister Modi justified the decision to field terror accused Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal as BJP candidate, it would not have surprised long time Modi watchers.

Indeed, Modi too had in 2008 questioned his integrity, accused Hemant Karkare and the Mumbai ATS of acting unprofessionally and falsely implicating Pragya Singh Thakur and Colonel Purohit at the instance of the then UPA Government at the Centre and the Congress-NCP Government in the state.

The fact that despite five years of virtually one-man Government in the state and despite putting his own men at the helm of investigating agencies, he was unable to get Pragya Singh Thakur acquitted. Although the upright Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian was first asked to go soft on Pragya Singh Thakur and then was eased out by the NIA, even the NIA has not succeeded in disproving that the LML scooter that belonged to Pragya Singh was used to plant bombs in the vicinity of the mosque at Malegaon. Nor have her battery of lawyers and the NIA been able to disprove that she attended meetings of the terrorist outfit Abhinav Bharat. This must be one of the key reasons why she is yet to be acquitted by the court and was granted bail on medical grounds by the high court.

Yakub Memon was hanged for Mumbai blasts because his scooter was used to plant bombs. He himself was not present in the country during the blasts but the prosecution successfully proved that he had attended meetings where the plot was hatched. But almost identical grounds and involvement have landed Pragya Singh Thakur a Lok Sabha ticket from the BJP. Is this Narendra Modi’s ‘ New India’ ?

Prime Minister Modi does have a convenient memory and his interviewers a shorter memory. It was the UPA Government which hanged Yaqub Memon, Ajmal Qasab and Afzal Guru. But Narendra Modi would have people believe that the Congress is anti-national and has loyalties across the border and even worse, appeases Muslim terrorists.

The bottomline is that Narendra Modi had also insulted Hemant Karkare in 2008, before changing his tune after the tragic killing. And by fielding Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal, he has insulted the martyr once again. Finally, by justifying the decision, the Prime Minister has rubbed salt on the wound.

If Narendra Modi believed Hemant Karkare was an outstanding, impartial officer who laid down his life, he should not have insulted his memory by justifying BJP’s decision to field the terror accused. And if he believed the officer was dishonest, politically motivated and biased, he should have made the song and dance he did in Mumbai in 2008.

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Published: 20 Apr 2019, 3:26 PM