Eight former director generals of police on Sunday issued a joint statement condemning Bharatiya Janata Party Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate and Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur's remarks against former Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare who was killed in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
Thakur, while campaigning in the Madhya Pradesh, had claimed that Karkare was killed because she had "cursed" him for "torturing" her during the Malegaon blast probe.
The joint statement was issued by retired DGPs Julio Ribeiro, Prakash Singh, P K Hormis Tharakan, Kamal Kumar, Jacob Punnoose, Sanjeev Dayal, Jayanto Choudhury and N Ramachandran.
"Despicable and regrettable statement of Pragya Thakur only serves to highlight the need to publicly recognise the supreme sacrifice made by the 35,000 police personnel from all corners of India who since Independence have laid down their lives in the line of duty," said the officers.
"The country owes him (Karkare) a huge debt of gratitude and anything that detracts from this is worthy of strong condemnation," the statement said.
It asked Lok Sabha candidates to seek out and honour the families of martyrs who live in their constituencies.
The retired DGPs, in their statement, said Karkare would have been alive had he not returned to Maharashtra from a plum posting at the Centre.
He had a specific intention of working with the Anti-Terrorism Squad to prevent and investigate the activities of terrorists so that the rest of us could sleep safe in our beds, they said in the statement.
The DGPs asked Lok Sabha candidates to commit to improve the delivery of policing services to their constituents.
They can also adopt one police station each year and take up schemes under Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme that would make it a model police station, it said.
Ensuring required facilities for the police station staff and their families would be a real and meaningful tribute to the supreme sacrifices of Hemant Karkare and thousands of other valiant police personnel, the officials
said in the statement.