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Hemant Karkare

Hemant Karkare (12 December 1954 – 26 November 2008) was the Former chief of the Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad. He was killed during the 2008 Mumbai attacks after being shot three times in the chest. His bravery was honoured generously with the Ashoka Chakra on 26 January 2009. Heis not only brave, he is honest and secular IPS officer in our land and also Mahatma character.

Karkare succeeded KP Raghuvanshi as the Chief of ATS in January 2008 and was eventually succeeded by Raghuvanshi after he was killed on 26 November 2008. He was credited with solving the serial bombing cases in Thane, Vashi and Panvel, and led the investigation of the 29 September Malegaon blasts.

Kavitha Karkare wife of Mahatma Hemant Karkare

Education and career

Karkare came from a Maharashtrian Karhade Brahmin family. Karkare obtained a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering fromVisvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur. After graduation he worked for National productivity council, Government of India and then Hindustan Lever Limited now Hindustan Unilever Ltd., India’s largest FMCG company.

He joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) as a member of the 1982 batch. Before becoming ATS Chief of Maharashtra State in January 2008, he was Joint Commissioner of Police (Administration) of Mumbai Police. He served seven years in Austria in the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency. According to former senior Mumbai Police officer Y.C. Pawar, Mr. Karkare was regarded as very influential officer in police circles.(Times of India Nov.28 2008)

Malegaon investigation

On 29 September 2008, three bombs exploded in Modasa, Gujarat and Malegaon, Maharashtra killing eight persons, and injuring 80. Several unexploded bombs were found in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Hemant Karkare, as the chief of the state Anti-Terror Squad, led the investigation into the 2008 Malegoan blasts. In late October the ATS arrested eleven suspects, and alleged that some radical Hindu groups were behind the blasts.

Opposition parties, including the Bharatiya Janta Party and Shiv Sena, and Hindu organizations alleged that the arrests were made under the pressure of the incumbent government, in an attempt to appease India’s Muslim population,these parties called him ‘a traitor to the nation’ for his investigation in this direction. Some BJP, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders accused the ATS of being used as a tool to attack the Sangh Parivar and of using illegal detention and torture.

Death

At 9.45 p.m. while having his dinner at his Dadar residence, he received a call about a terrorist attack at C.S.T. (earlier V.T.) station. He switched on the TV for news and left at once with his driver and bodyguards for C.S.T. There he donned a bullet-proof vest and helmet (shown on news channels live), and went to Platform No.1, but found it deserted. He was then informed that the terrorists had moved to the Cama and Albless Hospital (“Cama”) next to the Azad Maidan police station.

The operation was difficult as it was dark and the terrorists were well prepared and virtually on a fidayeen mission. The officers, with a few constables, went into Cama from the back and Kamte fired at the terrorist. A couple of constables were left stationed at the back entrance of Cama, while the rest boarded a Qualis jeep. Salaskar asked the driver to let him take over at the wheel. About that time, they heard on the wireless that the terrorists were hiding behind a red car.

As they turned from the Crime Branch office towards Rang Bhavan looking for the red car, near the Corporation Bank ATM, they saw a terrorist running. Kamte or Salaskar – or both – fired, the bullet hitting the terrorist on his arm, his AK-47 fell down. He was Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive later. As they were thinking of getting down, a second terrorist, Ibrahim Khan appeared and fired a volley of bullets at them. All but one Assistant Police Inspector Jadhav died. ( Times of India 19 Dec. 2008 )

Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Salaskar and others laid down their lives fighting terrorists during the Mumbai attacks, on 27 November 2008 in a narrow lane between St. Xaviers College and Rang Bhavan, just a stone throw away from the Crime Branch office.

Indian Express quotes statements by Constable Arun Jadhav, who was with the officers Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte when they died. The three officers and four constables had received information that Sadanand Date had been injured in the gunfire at the Cama and Albless Hospital for women and children. Located at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), a ten-minute drive from the hospital,[14] they took a Toyota Qualis and proceeded in that direction. Salaskar was driving, Kamte in the passenger seat, Karkare in the second row, and the four constables, including Jadhav, were in the back row of seating. According to Jadhav, five minutes later, two terrorists stepped out from behind a tree and opened fire with AK-47 automatic rifles. The six policemen, other than Jadhav, were all killed quickly in the gunfire. Kamte was the sole officer who managed to retaliate, wounding terrorist Ajmal in the arm. The wounded Jadhav had no opportunity to render assistance. The two terrorists approached the vehicle, dumped the bodies of the three officers on the road and, leaving the constables for dead, proceeded to Metro Cinema. Upon arrival, they aimed three bursts of automatic fire at the police and press vehicles drawn up at that location, then drove off towards the government offices (Vidhan Bhawan) in South Mumbai. Here again they fired several times. While attempting to leave the area, one of the tires of the vehicle burst, so the terrorists departed to obtain another. At this point, Jadhav was able to contact headquarters. The bodies of the dead were recovered and taken to St George Hospital.

In an investigation, Headline Today, an Indian news agency, found that a substandard bulletproof jacket had been issued to Mr. Karkare. Though, according to the post mortem report, the quality of the vest was not a factor in his death concerns in the media about the quality of the vest continue because the vest itself was, according to Indian authorities, misplaced in the hospital.

Karkare wife’s brave Speech

In an exclusive interview with CNN-IBN, slain ATS Chief Hemant Karkare’s wife, Kavita Karkare speaks about the family’s tragedy. For the first time since the 26/11 terror attacks claimed the life of her husband, Kavita talks about how ill-equipped Karkare was on the fateful night. She also strongly supports the manner in which her husband investigated the Malegaon blasts.

CNN-IBN: How are you handling this crisis at home?

Kavita Karkare: At the time I didn’t understand the gravity of the situation, but I rushed to the hospital immediately. I didn’t know what had happened to him. I went to the hospital thinking he was probably wounded. And that is when I got to know what had happened.

CNN-IBN: You have been putting up a very brave front. But how is the rest of the family taking it?

Kavita Karkare: It’s extremely difficult for the children. My elder daughter is married and has the support system from her in-laws, but my younger daughter — who is 23-years-old — and my son — who is 17-years-old — are finding it very difficult to cope with the tragedy.

CNN-IBN: Are there questions they are asking you, are there thoughts you are sharing as a family?

Kavita Karkare: For the first month we were in grief. Sometimes at night they cry with me and get angry. But I allow them to show their emotions so that they calm down.

CNN-IBN: Your daughter who has graduated from the London School of Economics, how has she taken to the incident?

Kavita Karkare: She was very close to her father so she was extremely depressed. My elder daughter asked her; should Kasab get harsh punishment? She immediately reacted that Kasab is only 21-years-old, so we should try and change his ideology and his thoughts. He should be given oppurtunities so that he can change. That is what she said. And everyone laughed at her.

CNN-IBN: What do you think made her say that?

Kavita Karkare: It’s because of the atmosphere they were brought up in. My husband always gave the children and me enough space. So I completed my education and bacame a lecturer. All my children are voracious readers. And that is why my daughter reacted like this.

CNN-IBN: Did you feel a sense of pride as a mother?

Kavita Karkare: Yes this is a sense of pride for me as a mother. It’s because, being Hemant Karkare’s daughter she thinks more time should be given to Kasab, and he should be given opportunities to improve. We should try to change his ideology, so why can’t we all come to gether change the ideology of terrorism.

CNN-IBN: Hemant Karkare was known to be a leader for his team and that is the role he took up on the night of 26/11. How different was he at home? Was he stressed by the controversy related to the Malegaon probe? Was he ever stressed or under pressure when he was at home with all of you?

Kavita Karkare: No he wasn’t under pressure as he knew he was doing the correct thing. It’s even said in the Bhagwat Gita that one should fight against evil. Meaning if you’re gurus or relatives are doing wrong, one has to raise their voice against evil. And that is what Hemant Karkare was doing.

He was not at all confused about it. His ideas and ideology was fixed. So he knew he was doing the right thing, and hence he wasn’t stressed. And I didn’t find him stressed.

CNN-IBN: Did you discuss what was spiralling into a controversy as a family at home, even as the investigations in Malegaon blast probe was being completed?

 

Kavita Karkare: He was criticised from various parties and people which I knew. It was very humiliating and sorrowful for us. But I and my husband both knew he wa doing the right thing. I think he was a very strong person and when he was doing the right thing he wasn’t stressed. As a wife I’ve seen if for so many years. Our marriage lasted for 28 years. On November 22 we celebrated our last anniversary.

CNN-IBN: As you were saying; there were comments coming in from all quaters even from relatives. They were critical of him taking up this role as it put him under the scanner. What were the comments like?

Kavita Karkare: They asked why is he getting involved, he should neglect this. Muslim terrorism has been talked about since so many years and as soon as Hindu terrorism is mentioned, then Hindus get hurt. So we should not label terrorism with Hindu or Muslim as terrorism has no religion.

CNN-IBN: You have also said, this is not to just the time to sing patriotic songs or not to just observe a communal harmony day but do something beyond that. What is this mission that you want to carry on?

Kavita Karkare: I’m a teacher. I teach in B.Ed college where I teach future teachers. I feel that subjects such as secularism should be introduced to the curriculum first standard onwards. When people from different religions interact when they are adults, there can be hatred. But if we try to inculcate these values at a young age we can succeed in eliminating terrorism.

When students from different religions would interact at a young age, we can abolish these communal differences that lead to terrorism. Education is also playing an important role but I think education system is neglecting these areas.

CNN-IBN: Do you think the nation has always been critical of the Police force and has never really shown support and appreciation? Do feel somewhere that is still lacking?

Kavita Karkare: Yes that is still lacking. I went to Austria with my husband. Austrian police is highly paid but our Police force isn’t. We have very poor housing conditions; everything should be taken care off. Like the educational facilities for the policemen’s children should be taken care off.

CNN-IBN: What are the three things about the Police force that you would like to change?

Kavita Karkare: Firstly the salary should be improved and every policeman or police officer should be given a house at least at subsided rate. Gym or Yoga facilities, which are available for the Army, and rationing facilities, should also be given to the Police force.

CNN-IBN: There were many theories doing the rounds after Karkare ji’s death. Like A R Antulay’s reamark that there was something fishy about sending top officers to the spot. Is there any appeal you would like to make?

Kavita Karkare: Yes I would like to read out my poem:

 

Mere pati shaheed hone ka mujhe gam zaroor hai afsos nahi

(My husband’s matyrdom makes me sad, not sorry)

Mere pati shaheed hone ka mujhe gam zaroor hai afsos nahi

(My husband’s matyrdom makes me sad, not sorry)

Shaheed ki patni safed sari pehenti nahi, apna sindoor mitati nahi, apni chudiyan nikaalti nahi

(A martyr’s widow wears no white, doesn’t remove her sindoor and bnangles)

Vedic kaal mein jinke ranbhumi se laut ke aate the, unke aurate unke naam ka sindoor lagane ke liye mana karti thi

(Wives don’t honour those who return unharmed from the battlefield)

Mere pati shaheed hone ka mujhe gam zaroor hai afsos nahi

(My husband’s matyrdom makes me sad, not sorry)

Phir bhi kuch sawal dil mein aate hai, par jawab mil nahi paate

(Still some questions remain for which there are no answers)

Main apne pati ko helmet pehante dekha tha, woh helmet kyun nahi thik baitha tha. Iska kuch jawab tha.

(I saw my husband wearing his helmet. It didn’t fit. Why? There is no answer)

Bulletproof jacket sirf ek dikhawa thi, bulletproof gadiya pradarshan ka ek anokha drishya tha

(The bulletproof jacket and car were just for show)

Lekin apne department mein disaster management ki itni dayneeya avasta kyun hai

(Why is the department in such a pitiful state)

Man kehta hai pagal tu kisse sawal karta hai

(My mind tells me, “Fool who are you questioning?”)

Mere pati shaheed hone ka mujhe gam zaroor hai afsos nahi

(My husband’s matyrdom makes me sad, not sorry)

Yeh teeno hi aage kyun gaye? Yeh sawal bar bar aata hai

(Why did those three lead the way? I question time and again)

Kartavya ke aage unki raftaar ko kaun jaanta hai

(They were driven by a sense of duty)

Baaki sab kahan the yeh jawab milna namumkin hai

(But where were the others? No one has the answer)

Baaki sab kahan the yeh jawab milna namumkin hai

(But where were the others? No one has the answer)

Samaj kehta hai aapke pati ka dharaska, aapka bewa hona jawab hai

(People say your widowhood is an answer to your husband’s bravery)

Samaj ke kuch log keh rahe the ki inke pati ko hero giri karne ka shauk hai, isiliya aisa ho gaya

(Some say that he was trying to show-off, trying to be a hero)

Lekin main maanti hoon, apne pati ke kartavya tatparta ka main sakshad sati ka roop hoon

(But I believe I’m a symbol of my husband’s sense of duty)

Ab meri behno se meri koi shilkayat nahi ki kyunki Hemant Karkare hi nahi rahe

(Now I have no compalints to make against anyone. Because Hemant Karkare is no more)

Par aage chalne waalo ko yeh badlaav zaroori hai, iske liye sabhi adhikariyon ko paribharshit karna zaroori hai

(But for those who follow, every officer’s duty must be defined)

 

Mere pati shaheed hone ka mujhe gam zaroor hai afsos nahi

(My husband’s matyrdom makes me sad, not sorry)

Angrezo ke ched aur bhed raj ne Bharat mein dwesh ka beej boya

(The Britishers sowed the seeds of dive and rule policy)

(Usme khaad paani dal kar, intekaam ki aag mein bada kiya)

(It has fed on feelings of revenge)

Babri masjid girane ka yahi toh ek jawab hai

(This is what led to the Babri Masjid being felled)

1993 bomb blasts usi ka toh tamasha hai

(That is why we saw the spectacle of 1993 bomb blasts)

Sabarmati Express ka jaljana Pakistan ki chaal thi

(Pakistan was behind the Sabarmati Express burning)

Isme humari na samjhi ka prateek Godhra hatya kaand hai

(But the Godhra carnage was boen out of our ignorance)

2006 ka railway bomb blast usi ka toh udharan hai

(And so were the 2006 train bombings)

Kyun ruk gayi Afzal Guru ki phaansi, har Bharatwaasi ka dard bhara sawal hai

(Why is Afzal Guru not hanged, every indian wants to know?)

In sawalo ka jawab milta nahi, yehi toh atank ki dard bhari dastan hai

(There are no answers and that is terror’s sad story)

Malegaon bomb blast ki mere pati ne jaanch poori ki hai

(My husband has completed the Malegaon blast probe)

Saara desh toot jaane par shaheedo ne bhachaya hai

(Martyrs have saved India from breaking-up)

Bhagat Singh, Rajguru shaheed hue tab angrezon ki rajniti thi

(When Bhagat Singh, Rajguru were martyred, English ruled India)

Karkare, Kamte aur Salaskar shahhed hue, ab toh Bharat mata ki rajniti hai

(Karkare, Kamte and Salaskar were martyred under “self-rule”)

In shaheedo ne duniya ke saamne ek adarsh misaal rakhi hai, yehi unki deshbhakti ki amar nishani hai

(Their sacrifice is a symbol of their undying patriotism)

CNN-IBN: Karkare ji was known to be very forthright but soft-hearted. How was he as a father?

Kavita Karkare: As a father he always gave complete freedom to his children. Our children have made mistakes and learnt from their own mistakes. I always told him that children need guidance, but he never agreed with me. His ideology was that children should be given enough freedom and space to choose their own path.

And I think that ideology has helped my daughter to think that Kasab should be given some oppurtunity to improve.

CNN-IBN: After all that has happened to the families of policemen, would you still encourage someone to join the Police force?

 

Kavita Karkare: Like I said, we have given enough freedom and space to our children so they will take their decision and I will not force them. That was my husband’s ideology and I strongly believe in that.

CNN-IBN: Would encourage students if they asked that should they join the Police force? Do you think they would need to warned about the hurdles they could face once they joined the Police force?

Kavita Karkare: I thnik that after this tragedy 26/11, Police force will be mordernised, they will think over it and revalue their actions. And I think that they will be given good weapons.

CNN-IBN: Have you spoken to Tukaram Omble’s family since all of you are united in grief?

Kavita Karkare: I’ve kept in touch with all the families, we are all in same condition. We united with our grief actually.

CNN-IBN: Would you like to say something to Tukaram’s family? Would you like to say something about his brave effort?

Kavita Karkare: He was a really brave man and he gave proof of his bravery.

CNN-IBN: Do you think he could’ve done better if was better equipped than a lathi. If he had an automatic gun?

Kavita Karkare: That is what I’m stressing on that Police force should be well equipped and have modernised weapons. They should be more organised and better coordination.

CNN-IBN: A week after 26/11, the entire country was angry. Did you share a similar anger?

Kavita Karkare: I’m not in a condition of extreme anger, in fact I’m against anger or violence. We should come together and make a continuous effort to change the system. Showing anger or taking out rallies will not help. We need to come together and unite. Change will occur with these efforts, social change can’t occur immediately. It may take time, but change will definitely take place after 26/11. I’m very positive.

CNN-IBN: Could you tell about Karkare ji’s upbringing and what was his thought process?

Kavita Karkare: Actually, his mother was in BJP and father was a strong communist. And even though his parents’ ideologies were very different, they never disagreed with each other. He was brought up in such an atmosphere and that is why he took the decision of investigating the Malegaon bomb blasts. Any other officer in place would have neglected.

CNN-IBN: Did it ever cross your mind that he should not have taken the lead that night?

Kavita Karkare: As a wife, yes I do feel so because it’s very difficult to cope with the loneliness and emptiness in the house. But I feel very proud of him also. One day everybody will die but to have the honour to die for your country is very rare. Life is enviable, and many would envy Shah Rukh Khan’s life, but his death is enviable as very few people get enviable death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hemant Karkare ji

He is a IPS officer in Indian state of Maharashtra. He is bravest and honest police officer in india.
Hemant Karkare laid down his lives fighting terrorists during the Mumbai attacks, on 27 November 2008.

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