Bhopal District Collector and Chief Electoral Officer Sudam Khade on Saturday issued a show cause notice to Bharatiya Janata Party Lok Sabha candidate Pragya Singh Thakur and local party chief Vikas Veerani, based on her claim that Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare died in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks because she had cursed him.
Karkare had investigated the charges against Thakur in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blasts, in which six people died and 101 injured. “I had told him you will be destroyed, and he was gone in less than two months,” she had said on Friday.
Khade said that Thakur’s statement violated the rules set by the Election Commission. The collector said the panel’s Model Code of Conduct states that candidates cannot use “undignified language that can hurt religious sentiments”. They are also prohibited from employing objectionable language against groups or individuals that can hurt sentiments or disturb communal harmony.
The chief electoral officer added that the rules state that “no aspect of the private life, not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties shall be criticised”. Khade ordered Thakur and Veerani to provide an explanation for the BJP candidate’s remarks within one day, failing which unilateral action shall be taken in the matter.
On Friday evening, Thakur retracted her remarks, claiming she did not want to “please our enemies”. She also admitted that Karkare was a martyr as he had died fighting terrorists.
Thakur is facing charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other sections of the Indian Penal Code. The Bombay High Court had granted bail to her in April 2017, noting that she had been in jail for more than eight years and was suffering from breast cancer.
Thakur will contest the Lok Sabha elections against Congress’ Digvijaya Singh. Several Opposition parties have opposed her candidature and called out the BJP for fielding a terror accused. The father of one of the victims in the blasts on Thursday filed an intervention application before a special National Investigation Agency court, seeking orders to restrain her from contesting the Lok Sabha elections.