So Pragya Singh Thakur, accused of terror for the Malegon blast of 2008, a case that is still in court, has begun her campaign as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Lok Sabha candidate for Bhopal with a bang. She not only contends that law enforcement agents “tortured" her after her arrest, she has also argued that the death of Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, who she calls her main tormentor, was a case of divine retribution. “Hemant Karkare falsely framed me [in the case] and treated me very badly," she is reported to have said, “I told him, ‘Your entire dynasty will be erased.’ He died of his karma."
Since the saffron-attired Thakur fashions herself as a sadhvi, a renouncer of all worldly pursuits, perhaps she considers herself bestowed with the power to slap somebody with such a shraap, a curse, that could wipe out all trace of his genealogy. Under the law, she is free to think of herself as blessed with the ability to summon divine forces. Her conclusion that the police officer died soon after because of her curse and his deeds against her, as she implies, is far easier to hold up to scrutiny. It is true that Karkare was the ATS chief whose team pursued the Malegaon case, among several others, and uncovered a trail that led to charges against her (among others). That he is no longer alive, though, is because he was shot by terrorists on 26 November 2008 as his vehicle got ambushed in a Mumbai bylane. His cause of death is indisputable. Karkare died in action, in pursuit of terrorists, and while upholding the law every serving police officer is sworn to.
The suggestion that Karkare was killed for his role in the Malegaon terror case has been whispered around as a conspiracy theory—with no proof whatsoever—for more than a decade now. By expressing a view that amounts to more or less the same thing, Thakur has won herself and her party no credit. Her thesis could either revive winks and nudges over who stood to gain from the officer’s demise, which would muddy our fight against terrorism, or be taken as a sign of gross naivete at best and vindictive megalomania at worst. Neither of which does much to help Indian democracy raise its score of good karma.