Hemant Karkare, slain chief of the Maharashtra police Anti-Terrorism Squad, was toying with the idea of quitting his job and joining some multinational firm to experiment with new ideas, his wife Kavita Karkare has revealed.
“But his dream remained unfulfilled,” she said, wondering whether her life would have been different, had he resigned before the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
Almost a year since the terror attacks that killed her husband, Ms. Kavita is still to come to grips with her loss. “It came as a shock. I spent 28 years of my life with him and now suddenly he is gone. One year is not enough to move on with my life.”
Ms. Kavita, however, feels the trial should have concluded before the first anniversary, though she herself does not follow the development. She finds the courtroom drama too depressing. “It is very painful to be reminded of the attack and of Ajmal Kasab [the lone terrorist captured alive] every now and then. However, it would have been a tribute to all those who lost their lives if Kasab was punished before the first anniversary.”
Karkare, a 1982 batch IPS officer, was killed in an ambush near Cama Hospital, along with another IPS officer Ashok Kamte and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar. After his death, the former Commissioner of Mumbai Police Julio Rebeiro wrote in an article that “he [Karkare] was the best police officer in Maharashtra, and I daresay in India.”
For Ms. Kavita, the memories of the fateful night of November 26 remain a vague jumble of images. “I remember my husband rushing out of the house after dinner with shoes in hand. He did not tell me where he was off to. After an hour or so, when I came to know there was a terror attack, I called him up, and he told me that he was fine.
Those were his last words to me.” Around midnight, she gathered from the news channels that her husband was wounded and admitted to JJ Hospital. “I rushed to the hospital where the grim reality dawned on me when I saw his juniors crying. My blood-pressure shot up, and I had to be administered an injection,” she says.
“People remember Hemant as a brave and courageous officer, who was always game for new experiences and challenges, but to us he was a supportive husband and a doting father,” says Ms. Kavita, who married Hemant in November 1980.
It was two years after the marriage that Hemant, earlier employed with Hindustan Lever, joined the police force. “Initially, I was not very happy about his joining the police, as I thought he would have to abandon a stable job and a handsome salary at Hindustan Lever.”
Her son Aakash is now doing a law degree at a Pune College. “Aakash decided to pursue law after his father’s death. Earlier he wanted to be a chartered accountant. I did not ask him the reason for his sudden change of mind.” Ms. Kavita said.
Despite the tragedy that changed her life forever, Ms. Kavita says she won’t object to her son following in his father’s footsteps and join the police.