Two hours before 26/11 attacks, Hemant Karkare called me to say his life under threat: Digvijay Singh
In a startling revelation days after the second anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has said that two hours before the first terrorists struck that evening, chief of the Maharashtra ATS Hemant Karkare called him to say that his life was “blighted by constant threats” from those opposed to his probe into the Malegaon blast in which Hindu extremists were accused.
Karkare was killed by the terrorists that evening. Days later, then Minorities Minister A R Antulay had to quit after he said that Karkare could have been a victim of “terrorism or terrorism plus something.”
Speaking to The Indian Express today, Digvijay Singh said: “On November 26, 2008, at 7 pm, just about two hours before the attacks in Mumbai started, Hemant Karkare, the slain ATS chief rang me on my mobile and told me how his family and his life were blighted by constant threats from people annoyed by his investigations into the Malegaon blasts.
“Woh pareshaan the (he was worried), and he told me he was trying to trace the calls, but was depressed and worried by threats and personal attacks made in their newspapers. Karkare also told me that he was hurt that in a paper, the mouthpiece of a Hindu right-wing organization, allegations were being made that my son was minting money in Dubai, when in reality he was only a school student in Mumbai.”
Singh said he knew Karkare as his family was associated with Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh (Digvijay Singh’s home state too and where he was Chief Minister for 10 years).
He said that Karkare’s father was posted as a railway officer before moving to Nagpur and they often talked.
“I was so shocked and demoralized on being told of his death in the attacks in Mumbai late at night on November 26, that my initial reaction was, ‘Oh God, they have killed him.’ It was only later that I found out about other events taking place in the city on that dreadful day.”
On December 6, Singh had shared these revelations with the audience at a function to launch RSS ki saazish — 26/11? (26/11, an RSS conspiracy?) authored by Aziz Burney, editor-in-chief of Urdu Sahara newspaper.
Present at the function were Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha K Rahman Khan and three MLAs from Delhi, Shoaib Iqbal, Chaudhry Mateen and Asif Mohammed Khan. Also present were leading lights from the clergy Maulana Mahmood Madani from the Deobandi sect, Maulana Touqir Raza Khan from the Barelvi sect and Shia leader Kalbe Jawwad.
The moderator was noted Akhtar-ul Wasey, director of the Zakir Husain Institute of Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia University.
In his book, Burney writes: “It was on November 12 (this year) after I heard Digvijay Singh at Nagpur, powerfully denounce the theories of former Chief of the RSS, K Sudershan on the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other things, which were an attempt to stop investigations into the alleged involvement of people linked to the RSS, that I was inspired to put all my pieces together on this subject and air this suspicion fully that in fact Karkare’s assassination was plotted by people associated with the RSS to stop him from unmasking the face of RSS-inspired terror...If Karkare had not been killed, he would have possibly unveiled the entire terror network and not just names of certain individuals, trying to turn India into a Hindu rashtra through violence.”
Currently, Burney is part of the press team travelling with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Belgium and Germany, and said he would “elaborate when he gets back”.