India should be ashamed for letting down an honest police officer, who exposed Hindutva terror

Whether Hemant Karkare was killed by Hindutva forces or not, is difficult to establish. But the way his investigation has been botched after his death, and his image is being tarnished by the apologists of Modi, is shameful.


Saturday, May 30 marks the first anniversary of the beginning of the second term of Narendra Modi’s right-wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government in India. Modi won with a huge majority in the May 2019 general election. Out of total 542 seats in the parliament, the BJP alone bagged 300. This was more than the total number of 272 seats required to get a clear majority. In 2014, BJP won 282 seats—10 more than the magic figure. The 2019 election result was therefore a spectacular win that no one anticipated.

The most challenging part of this election was that it was considered a referendum on the sectarian politics of Modi. Attacks on religious minorities, especially Muslims had grown under this government since he first came to power.

Those opposed to Modi warned that if BJP got another chance, India will be transformed into a Hindutva theocracy. Not surprisingly, the victory emboldened Modi government to scrap special status given to the state of Kashmir – the only Muslim majority province in India – in the name of national security. An armed insurgency alongside peaceful agitation has been going on in the region for the right to self- determination. The BJP has always been threatening to take away special rights given to the people of Kashmir to polarise the Hindu majority in the rest of the country. Not only civil rights and freedom have been suspended in the area, troops have been heavily deployed to suppress any voice of dissent.

If that was not enough, the government has passed a controversial and divisive Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that discriminates against Muslim refugees coming from the neighbouring countries sparking angry protests, which have subsided due to lockdown following the outbreak of COVID 19.

It’s now a matter of time when India officially declares itself as a Hindu nation as the country has made a choice.

If the election of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur—a controversial Hindu ascetic who faces trial in the bombing conspiracy against Muslims is any indication, Indians have not only sold their soul to Modi, but have let down an honest police officer who exposed the Hindutva terror network.

The late Hemant Karkare had smashed the terror module involved in bombings targeted at Muslim community. Until then, the media and the intelligence blamed most terror incidents in India on Muslim extremists without even considering the possibility of Hindu fanatics being involved.

Karkare, being a thoroughly professional officer associated with Maharashtra’s anti terrorism squad was completely detached from majoritarian prejudices. This was in spite of the fact that he was a practising Hindu.

Notably, Modi and his party had started a smear campaign against him for arresting Hindus involved in terror activities.

Thakur – who was nominated as a BJP candidate from Bhopal was involved in the 2008 bomb blast in Malegaon. The incident had left 10 people dead and close to 100 injured. This was one of the many blasts triggered by a gang that wants to instil fear in the minds of Muslims and establish a Hindu state by overthrowing a democratic and secular republic of India. Her arrest had outraged Modi.

Thakur wasn’t the only Hindu extremist to be arrested for terrorism. Karkare’s investigation had culminated into the arrests of several more who had conspired bomb blasts in different parts of India.

On November 26, 2008 when India’s financial capital of Mumbai came under attack from Pakistan-based terror group, Karkare was shot to death under mysterious circumstances. Many like a former police officer S.M. Mushrif believe that this attack was used to also silence Karkare for ever and while under the grip of a terror attack, a shadow group took his life. His book, “Who killed Karkare? The real face of terrorism in India” raises some uncomfortable questions even if some of the conclusions are too pat. 

Mushrif’s second book, “Brahminists bombed, Muslims hanged: The Brahminist game of blast and blame Muslims” maps out all the terror incidents involving Hindu extremists and gives a detailed account of how these cases have been diluted and weakened by the government under Modi and police and courts have enabled individuals such as Thakur to go unpunished. While Thakur was given bail to run for the office, others like her were acquitted for lack of evidence. The Modi administration has indicated that it’s not going to pursue these cases, even as the courts have said that not enough evidence was presented to corroborate the claims against suspects. Modi has publicly gone on record to discredit investigations against Hindu extremists by accusing previous governments of deliberately maligning Hindu groups.

This is in sharp contrast to what Muslim and Sikh extremists have faced at the hands of the police, who have frequently killed political activists and suspects through extra judicial means with impunity.

It is pertinent to mention that Kakare who became a national hero overnight for BJP after getting killed in Mumbai terror attack was defamed posthumously by Thakur and her supporters.

Whether Karkare was killed by Hindutva forces or not, is difficult to establish. But the way his investigation has been botched after his death, and his image is being tarnished by the apologists of Modi, is shameful.

One needs to read a book by his daughter Jui Karkara Navare to understand the commitment of the slain officer who had dedicated his life to the country. ‘Hemant Karkare: A Daughter’s Memoir” reveals how fair this exceptional policeman was. He was just doing his duty without any discrimination. His faith in Hinduism and his love for the country did not blind him while dealing with Hindu extremists or extremists of any other shade alike.  

It was indeed painful to see the nation turning blind eye to the actions of Thakur and others like her in the BJP and giving Modi another chance.

For now, Indians need to do some introspection and hang their heads in shame, rather than rejoicing second win of someone who is patronizing terrorism and hatred.




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