‘He Was My Superhero’: Karkare’s Daughter Remembers 26/11 Martyr
(This story was first published on 25 November 2019 and has been reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark former Maharashtra ATS Chief Hemant Karkare’s birth anniversary)
Video Editor: Ashish MacCune
Eleven years after 26/11 martyr and former Maharashtra ATS Chief Hemant Karkare was shot dead by terrorists in the line of duty, his daughter Jui Karkare Navare reminisces about her father in her latest book, ‘Hemant Karkare: A Daughter’s Memoir’.
“It took me a long time to even accept that he is no more. I was in Boston at the time. My husband got a call from the Government of India that they were sponsoring our tickets to Mumbai and after that I felt that even though my father had passed away, he’s still taking care of us. I could not believe that such a calamity could ever happen. He was only 54.”Jui Karkare Navare, Hemant Karkare’s Daughter and Author
She added that, through the medium of her book, her daughters would get the chance to know more about their grandfather and his legacy.
‘Not Just a Job, It Was His Calling’
Recounting stories from her childhood, Jui said that her father always tried to tackle issues at the grassroot level. For him, it was not just a job but rather a call of duty, she added.
Recounting an incident she heard from her father from the time he was posted in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur, she said:
“He had gone and visited villages and spoke to people to understand the huge Naxalite problem in Chandrapur, because he was the superintendent of police. He said, ‘I spoke to children and asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up. Many children said, ‘Shekhar anna’, who was the Naxalite leader. My dad said they don’t even have good role models. They perceive the policemen as enemies and the Naxalite leaders are closer to them and wondered ‘How do I change this situation?’”
Jui narrated how Karkare then engaged interpreters, translators and went to the villages with a team of policemen and spoke to the children and the villagers. He told them that the police are on their side.
He firmly believed that change could be brought about through law and order rather than violence, she said.
'Every Country Should Respect Its Martyrs'
Reacting to BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya’s attempts to tarnish Karkare’s image, Jui said: “I just feel that every country should respect its martyrs... someone who has laid down their life for the country. That is the most supreme sacrifice anyone can make for the nation and they should always be respected for it.”
‘A strict disciplinarian who always gave his children the freedom to make their own decisions’ is how his daughter remembers him.
“He would give us pros and cons of doing things in a certain way and he hoped that by telling us about the pros and cons, we would be able to choose the correct angle on our own. I could see that he wanted to empower us to make our own decisions rather than forcing something. He used to say that you may make mistakes down the road but you will learn.”Jui Karkare Navare, Hemant Karkare’s Daughter and Author