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Updated: December 12, 2010 04:45 IST

Congress distances itself from Digvijay remarks on 26/11

    Smita Gupta
    Vinay Kumar
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Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has stoked a controversy with his claim that slain Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare had called him hours before the 26/11 terror strikes. File photo
The Hindu Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has stoked a controversy with his claim that slain Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare had called him hours before the 26/11 terror strikes. File photo

Country's fight against terror weakened, says BJP

An embarrassed Congress on Saturday distanced itself from party general secretary Digvijay Singh's controversial reporting of a conversation he had with Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare shortly before he was killed by terrorists on 26/11. Karkare had apparently told Mr. Singh that he feared for his safety from Hindu extremists.

“There is no question of [one] agreeing or disagreeing [with that statement],” Congress media chairperson Janardan Dwivedi told journalists, stressing, “it concerns a conversation between two individuals. Unfortunately one of them, Karkare, is no more with us. Digvijay Singh will, therefore, be in a better position to comment on his statement.”

Mr. Dwivedi also pointed out that Karkare, whose family was from Madhya Pradesh, had a personal association with Mr. Singh, and that was why the IPS officer had called him. Saying the party had nothing to say on the purported conversation, Mr. Dwivedi noted: “Mr. Singh has made that private conversation public in a programme, and the party has no role into it. Hence only he can comment on it.”

Faced with a belligerent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accusing him of weakening the war on Islamic terror, an indignant Kavita Karkare who stressed that Pakistan was behind the incident, and his own party distancing itself from his statement, Mr. Singh retreated and said that he had not said that the RSS was behind the incident.

Earlier, the BJP lashed out at Mr. Singh, saying he was trying to divert attention from the scams facing the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, even while seeking a clarification from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the issue.

BJP's chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad, claiming that Mr. Singh's comments had harmed the country's security, its fight against terror and investigations into the 26/11 attacks case, said the Taliban and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, as well as Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, would now ask, “Why are we being framed in 26/11 when a senior Congress leader is questioning the circumstances of Karkare's killing?”

The Congress also suffered another setback as Mr. Singh's statement hit the headlines even as WikiLeaks released a December 2008 American embassy cable, accusing the party of playing “communal politics” in not distancing itself from similar comments made by A.R. Antulay, then Minority Affairs Minister.

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Late Karkare and others had displayed supreme sense of duty on that dark and fateful night of 26/11 and paid dearly. We value their invaluable services and sacrifice and any attempt to politicize them would bring shame on us. Any committed police officer would see some threat to his life in a city like Mumbai where persons like The Thakarays and the Dawoods call 'shots'. What former CM of Maharastra Mr. Antulay said about the death of Karkare should be viewed in that context. Mr.Digvijay Singh might have had this in his mind when he talked about late Karkare.But some of us think that on that night how could the terrorists pinpoint Mr. Karkare and other officers? Perhaps they had got the help of some 'insiders'.

from:  M Somasekhar Prasad
Posted on: Dec 12, 2010 at 18:02 IST

What WikiLeaks had cited on the policy maintained by Congress with leaders like A.R Antulay for playing communal politics is being actively proved by Digvijay Singh who preferred to be into the party job than becoming a cabinet Minister with the central government. He had notoriouly put the party into an embarrassing situation for giving press statements against Home Minister Chidabaram's comment on Naxalites issue. No one can predict what prompted him to say that the slain Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare had told him that he feared for his safety from Hindu extremists. Let it be a fact that Digvijay Singh had regular contacts with the IPS officer who also belongs to M.P. By his discourse affirming that Karkare telephonically contacted him on his predicament just few hours before the 26/11 tragedy, he had dragged not just rival political parties into a controversial squabble but the peace loving people of the mainstream populace of this nation who are looking forward to see the punishment meted out to the terror perpetrators of Pakistan. Congress Party cannot distance from the comments from the General Secretary who had not bothered to be prudent while blabbering this sort of comments which will adversely affect the party's interface its own followers who cannot tolerate the playing politics around the sacrifice of martyrs like the Hemant Karkere. Digvijay Singh must be suspended from the Party with immediate effect and recoup the support of masses who are agitated over his redundant pronouncement.

from:  Madan Menon Thottasseri. CHENNAI
Posted on: Dec 12, 2010 at 16:38 IST
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