Malegaon blast accused and BJP's Bhopal Lok Sabha seat candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur on Friday said she has taken back her statement against former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare as she did not want the “enemies of the country” benefitting from it.
Asserting that it was her “personal pain”, Pragya said Karkare was “certainly a martyr” as he had died from bullets of terrorists.
"I felt that the enemies of the country were being benefited from it, therefore I take back my statement and apologize for it, it was my personal pain," Pragya was quoted by ANI as saying.
"He died from the bullets of terrorists from the enemy country, he is certainly a martyr," she added.
Pragya had on Thursday claimed police officer Hemant Karkare died during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks as she "cursed" him for torturing her.
Addressing BJP workers in Bhopal Thursday night, Pragya had also claimed that Karkare had "made up his mind" not to release her from custody.
"Hemant Karkare was called by the (blast) probe panel member to Mumbai. I was then in a Mumbai jail. The commission member told him that if he didn't have any proof against me, he should not unlawfully hold me in jail," she said.
"But he (Karkare) said he will do anything to bring the proof...Will do anything...Will create it, bring it from here and there, but will not release Sadhvi," she said.
Karkare was killed along with two other senior police officers while fighting terrorists during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in November 2008.
Pragya took back her words hours aftre after the BJP distanced itself from her remarks, saying that whatever she said was her "personal view" and she might have said so because of the “mental and physical torture she had faced.”
The remarks invoked strong reactions from all quarters. While the IPS Associations condemned her statement, the Congress demanded an apalogy from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi slammed Pragya for her remarks.
"Hemant Karkare died fighting people not very different from yourself. He didnt die because a terror accused felt bad & cursed him. The man died fighting to protect our rights to vote & elect a government. How DARE BJP insult our martyrs like this?" he tweeted.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hit out at Pragya for her "disgraceful" comments.
"Disgraceful comments by BJP's Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate Pragya Thakur on 26/11 martyr Hemant Karkare ji need to be condemned in strongest terms. BJP is showing its true colours & it must be shown it's place now," he tweeted.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Office sources said a complaint has been received against Pragya Singh Thakur for her comments on Karkare. The matter is under enquiry, they said.
Out on bail, Pragya (48) has been discharged by a court on charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the 2008 case, but is still facing trial under other criminal provisions, including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.