NCP workers protest Pragya Singh Thakur's comment against Hemant Karkare, in Thane | PTI
NCP workers protest Pragya Singh Thakur's comment against Hemant Karkare, in Thane | PTI
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Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal, Pragya Singh Thakur, has made coarse remarks against former anti-terrorism squad chief Hemant Karkare, who was killed in the terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008. The remarks could even be interpreted as a threat to the family of the officer. While there are reports of the remarks having been withdrawn, the fact that someone running for a public office articulated such views, calls for a need to examine the narrative towards police personnel killed in the line of duty moving beyond electoral politics. That there are people on social media platforms trying to justify such remarks through twisted logic, instead of unequivocally condemning it, is even more appalling.

Since the Independence, more than 34,000 police personnel of various ranks, belonging to the state and central police organisations, have lost their lives in the line of duty. In 2018, more than 400 police personnel lost their lives while doing what they were mandated by law to do. These figures are among the highest in the world. Unfortunately, we are a nation where many of our elected public leaders and political ‘wannabees’ have serious criminal background. Our polity and social space provides influence to a lot many persons with criminal pasts. It is then natural that their relationship with the law enforcement machinery, which is the police, cannot be cordial and makes them curse the police.

Also read: 4 years ago, NHRC gave clean chit to Karkare on Thakur’s allegations of police torture

With recognition in the socio-political sphere and thus, the system, comes a false sense of entitlement. We often witness this in action when police personnel on duty are intimidated and obstructed, names are dropped and ‘weight’ is thrown about even in routine policing activities, most common being enforcement of traffic rules and vehicle checking. It is this false sense of entitlement and invincibility that suffers a severe blow during investigation of serious offences by police officers. Holding those grudges and insulting personnel who are killed in the line of duty is unacceptable. Police is subject to democratic controls and there are various mechanisms to address issues related to police excesses, wherever they happen. Dishonouring a man who laid down his life doing his duty and therefore cannot defend himself or his family has taken the level of our public discourse to a new low.

There is a reason why societies give importance to remembering those who sacrifice their lives and honouring them. It is more for the living than for the dead. The morale of the serving police personnel is enhanced when a grateful nation says the right things about the deceased, even if tokenistic. Their confidence is increased manifold when they see the families of their fallen colleagues well taken care of. Their pride in their work swells when the sacrifice of their ilk and their families is recognised. The National Police Memorial in New Delhi is a step in the right direction. Initiatives like ‘Bharat ke Veer’ also play an important role. It is now time for the society at large to give due recognition to police personnel killed in the line of duty. It is imperative that civil society stands up in unison at the insult caused to the memory and the personnel’s family to remind that this honour is not tradable at the altar of political expediency.

Also read: Modi & Shah have turned India into ‘Jingostan’ & are out to conquer the paranoid country

The next time a police person is faced with a choice of putting himself or herself in a dangerous situation to save the lives of citizens, he or she should proudly take that calculated risk. Remember, the person always has a choice. A choice to look the other way and later blame the system. And when that choice is exercised because the officers on the ground feel that their work is not valued or their families will not be taken care of, the curse will be on the nation.

The author is an IPS officer. Views are personal.

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9 Comments Share Your Views


  1. మనం ఎవరికోసం.. ఇదంతా చేస్తున్నామో.. తెలియకుండానే ప్రాణాలు వదిలేస్తుంటాం. కానీ ఓ సైనికుడు, ఓ పోలీస్ అన్నీ తెలిసే ప్రాణాలను తృణ ప్రాయంగా త్యాగం చేస్తుంటారు. అలాంటి వీరులను గౌరవించక పోయినా.. పర్వాలేదు.. కానీ అవమానించ కుంటే చాలు. వందేమాతరం.. జైహింద్

  2. Very well written article Harsha Vardhan. Most of us Indian bow our head in deep respect to Shri. Hemant Karkare for his martyrdom. Even after a decade we respect him for his service in line of duty. Some vagabond sadhvi’s narcissistic comment in elation for a seat been given, though not won as yet, is to be rejected. I could see some over zealous Modi Bhakts taking cudgels in defense of her, but I simply do not care for them.

    • Ashok kumar has aptly, correctly pointed out and his comments are correct reply to your comments. You may not accept, but it a puzzle to me , how an official of the highest rank in Mumbai at that time had come into the AJMALKASAB TEAM’S GUN TARGET instead of other lower rank police force. Recently, I come across am allegation that he was involved in placing RDX IN THE SAMJOTHA EXPRESZ EXPLOSION TO MALIGN HUNDUS AS AS TO GIVE A HINDI EXTREMISTS COLOUR.


  3. If sadhvi pragya was illegally tortured then she has every right to express her anguish. This kind of respect for martyrs was not evident when inspector Mahesh Sharma gave his life at batla house raid on terrorists. Then congressmen of all hues called it fake encounter. Wasn’t that insult to Mahesh Sharma?

  4. I totally condemn Sadhvi’s comments about a martyr in public. A political leader who can influence people should not express his/her personal views in public especially if they can negatively impact the citizens. But I wonder if this post is trying to justify that a male police officer can physically torture and abuse a woman accused because he is in the noble profession of serving the nation! if sadhvi’s allegations are wrong then she should be brought before court of law and should be proved wrong.

  5. Beautifully written brought out the dilemma/danger in the lives of service personnel..looking forward to more such articles

  6. Merely praising Hemant Karkare is of no use. The entire police force have to stand against politicians. Which no more Bribes, Mamools in any form etc. If the more they turn people friendly instead politicians, they would find more people on their side. Utopian I think. So political class would only exploit police and then Martyrs like HK would be forgotten after election.


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