Mourning a hero: Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare

Hemant Karkare

Born 1 July 1954
Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
Died 26 November 2008 (aged 54)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation Indian Police Service officer
Spouse(s) Kavita Karkare

Hemant Karkare (Marathi: हेमंत करकरे) (1 July 1954 – 26 November 2008) was the chief of the Mumbai Anti Terrorist Squad. He achieved martyrdom for his country during the November 2008 Mumbai attacks after being hit in his chest by three bullets fired by terrorists.

Karkare was a 1982 batch IPS officer and also held a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering from Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur. As an ATS Chief, he was involved in the Malegaon blast probe and Naxalite-infested Chandrapur district of Maharashtra. Before joining the IPS, Karkare worked for Hindustan Lever limited. He also served as ADDL. COM of Police (Administration).

Karkare had solved the serial bomb blasts in Thane, Vashi and Panvel and was also credited for the revelations in the investigation of the 29 September blast in Malegaon. In January 2008, he was named the head of the ATS after returning to the state cadre. He was credited for helping to uncover the revelations of the involvement of certain right wing Hindu parties that came about in the investigation of the September 29th blast in Malegaon in which three bombs exploded in Gujarat and Maharashtra of India, killing eight people and injuring 80 (two bombs were detonated in Malegaon, Maharashtra, killing seven).

He also worked in the RAW—the India’s external intelligence agency—in Austria for seven years in a secret mission.


On November 26, 2008, Karkare was killed in action by terrorists during the Mumbai attacks.

India 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. Currently located at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), a ten-minute drive from the hospital, 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. 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 Junction. Upon arrival, they aimed three bursts of automatic fire at police and journalist 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 promptly recovered and taken to St George Hospital.



Karkare’s response to a death threat: A ‘smiley’

Y P Rajesh Posted: Nov 27, 2008 (Indian Express)

Mumbai: The last days of were probably some of the busiest in his 26-year career in the Indian Police Service (IPS), and apparently tormented as well.

The ATS believed it had cracked the September 29 Malegaon bomb blast case, and about a month ago arrested Hindu extremists in a breakthrough that shocked the nation and added a new twist to the entire discourse on Terror and religion.

But as the probe unravelled the alleged plot and the role of some Hindu leaders, the case got caught in the politics of terror and the ATS was at the centre of charges that it was being used as a tool to target the Sangh Parivar amid allegations of illegal detention and torture by some of the 11 arrested for the blast.

The BJP, RSS and VHP leaders, among others from the Hindu nationalist brigade, accused the ATS of being on a witch-hunt, with some even demanding that ATS officers be subjected to a narco-analysis to establish their motives.

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No less a leader than the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, L K Advani, had demanded a change in the ATS team and a judicial inquiry into the torture allegations made by Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a key suspect in the Malegaon case.

The Shiv Sena too had come out in support of the suspects and on Wednesday had threatened in its mouthpiece Saamna that it would publish the names of some ATS officers and shame them as it said they had tortured the Malegaon suspects.

That Karkare was affected by this was apparent when we met at his office on Tuesday to get an update on the probe, less than 36 hours before he was killed. The Indian Express has decided to break the confidence of what was an off-the-record conversation in an attempt to highlight the anguish of the investigators over the currents in which the Malegaon probe was getting caught as well as the larger debate over the politics of terror.

“I don’t know why this case has become so political,” was one of Karkare’s first comments. “The pressure is tremendous and I am wondering how to extricate it from all the politics.”

Was the pressure telling on the investigation, what with someone who could be the next prime minister of the country questioning the credibility of the ATS?

“Of course,” was the answer. “We are being very very careful. In fact, when we want to question a suspect and if he or she has any Hindutvawadi connections, we make sure once, twice, thrice, that we have enough reason and evidence to even question. Normally it is not like that. We are able to freely question anyone we suspect.”


Honour the brave

Sir: As Indian commandos finished off the last remaining terrorists at Nariman House in Mumbai, the crowds outside applauded the security forces for having ended the standoff. Men, women and children were queuing up to shake hands with the commandos, who were treated like heroes. I couldn’t help but draw a parallel with our national response following the Lal Masjid operation, when our brave soldiers were pushed into anonymity by our media, which at the same time was glorifying the terrorists who were using children as human shields. The brave soldiers of the Pakistan Army put their lives on the line every day, many lose their lives defending our great nation. Yet our media and our people do not treat them as heroes, but instead react with a schizophrenia that somehow prompts them to make excuses for the terrorists. Everyone in India today knows the name of Hemant Karkare, the Mumbai Anti-Terror Squad chief killed during the Mumbai attacks. How many in Pakistan can name the brave and selfless SSG officer that led the charge on Lal Masjid and gave his life for Pakistan?