New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi joined the voices rallying against Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur for her comments on former Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare’s death during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Rahul Gandhi tweeted, ” Hemant Karkare gave his life protecting India. He must be treated with respect.”

Pragya Singh Thakur on Friday said then Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare had died during the 26/11 terror attack because of her “curse”, triggering a major outcry following which she apologized.

Thakur, who is out on bail after serving over nine years in jail in connection with the September 29, 2008 blast in Maharashtra’s Malegaon in which six people were killed and nearly 100 injured, recounted at a public meeting in Bhopal the episode of her arrest and interrogation in the case.

The 48-year-old claimed that when she was in a Mumbai jail, when the head of the probe had called Karkare and said that she should be released as there was “no evidence” against her.

“Then Karkare asked me various questions and I replied ‘God knows’. At this, Karkare asked whether he would have to go to the God to get the answers. Then, I told him that he would be destroyed and he was cursed… within a month and a half, he fell victim to the terrorists’ bullets,” said Thakur who has been fielded by the BJP from Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency against Congress leader Digvijaya Singh.

Karkare was killed on the night of November 26, 2008 when 10 terrorists from Pakistan struck Mumbai at various places.

“Hindus believe that a period of one and a half month after anyone’s birth or death is of ritual impurity. When Karkare asked me these questions, this period started for him and ended with him being killed by the terrorists,” said Thakur, who was born in Bhind area of Madhya Pradesh.

The comments triggered a major outcry, with parties like the Congress, AAP and AIMIM, besides the Indian Police Service Association, condemning her remarks.

Amid the outrage, the BJP also distanced itself from Thakur’s comments.

In the evening, Thakur said, “It was my personal pain. I take back my statement and apologise.”

With IANS inputs