Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Indresh Kumar on Wednesday said that while one may respect the sacrifice of police official Hemant Karkare, the alleged torture he inflicted on Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Thakur must also be pointed out, ANI reported. Karkare was the chief of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad when he was killed during the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008.

Thakur, now a Bharatiya Janata Party MP, had claimed during her election campaign in April that Karkare had died because she had cursed him. Thakur is currently out on bail. Karkare had investigated the charges against Thakur in connection with the Malegaon blasts. Thakur has claimed that she was tortured by officials when she was in jail for her alleged role in the 2008 Malegaon blasts.

“No [investigating] agency has the permission to torture an accused who has not been proven guilty, that also a woman,” Kumar said. “Karkare is a martyr because he died of a terrorist’s bullet. But the Congress government got Sadhvi [Pragya] tortured to get its story proven true. Getting this done by the agency is a crime, and for the agency to do it is undignified. They should have resisted it. While his sacrifice can be respected, the torture done by him must be pointed out too.”

Kumar claimed the then Congress-led government had misused the “uniform” to inflict torture on Thakur. He said, “One can pay tributes to Hemant Karkare who died in a terrorist attack, but he cannot be respected.”

Referring to Thakur’s withdrawal of her remarks after backlash, Kumar said the BJP leader “showed humanity by amending her statement”, News18 reported.

Days after Thakur’s remarks about Karkare in April, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sumitra Mahajan had said that Karkare’s role as a police officer should be called out if it was not correct. “He became a martyr because he died in line of duty, but if his role as a police officer was not correct, we will say it was not correct,’’ Mahajan had told The Indian Express.