Eight former top police officers Sunday strongly condemned the "despicable" remark of BJP's Bhopal Lok Sabha seat candidate Pragya Singh Thakur that her "curse" killed Hemant Karkare, and demanded those who laid down their lives for the country be respected.
In a statement, the former DGPs said the country owes Karkare, who headed the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad and was killed during the 26/11 terror attack, a huge debt of gratitude and anything that detracts from this is worthy of strong condemnation.
"This despicable and regrettable statement of Pragya Thakur only serves to highlight the need to publicly recognise the supreme sacrifice made by the 35,000 police personnel from all corners of India who since Independence have laid down their lives in the line of duty," the statement said.
Those who signed the statement include: former Punjab DGP Julio Ribeiro, former BSF chief and UP and Assam DGP Prakash Singh, former Kerala DGPs PKH Tharakan and Jacob Punoose, former National Police Academy (Hyderabad) DGP Kamal Kumar, former Maharashtra DGP Sanjeev Dayal, former Assam DGP and NSG DG Jayanto N. Choudhury, and N Ramachandran, ex-DGP Meghalaya.
The former police officers said Sadhvi Pragya, a contestant from the Bhopal constituency, made some unfortunate remarks referring to the late Karkare. She has since retracted.
"Karkare would probably be alive today had he not volunteered to return to the Maharashtra cadre from a plum posting at the Centre with the specific intention of working with the Anti-Terror Squad to prevent and investigate the activities of terrorists so that the rest of us could sleep safe in our beds," the statement said.?
The former police officers said the brave policemen and women have unflinchingly answered the call of duty, even offering the ultimate sacrifice, despite being under-resourced and often working 24x7 in the most challenging conditions.
"As former DGPs from across the country, we urge all candidates in these Lok Sabha elections to seek out and honour the families of these martyrs who live in their constituencies.
"We also urge them to commit, to engaging with every effort to improve the delivery of policing services to their constituents."
Addressing BJP workers in Bhopal last week, Thakur had claimed that Karkare died during the attack as she had "cursed" him for "torturing" her when he probed the Malegaon blast case as the chief of the ATS.