Bihar minister courts controversy over remark on slain CRPF trooper

Patna: A Bihar minister Vinod Singh has courted controversy over his “insensitive” remarks about CRPF trooper, who had died fighting militants in Jammu and Kashmir early this week.

The opposition RJD and Congress demanded removal of the minister.

Mines and Geology department minister Vinod Singh when asked about delay in reaching the martyr soldier’s family had said “what would have my reaching Peero (the place in Bhojpur to which CRPF jawan belonged) earlier had achieved. Would it have brought the slain CRPF jawan back to life”?

Singh, who belongs to BJP is also minister in-charge of Bhojpur district, under which the soldier’s native village falls.

The minister’s comment made yesterday was shown prominently in regional TV channels today.

The minister, who had gone to native Peero village of the soldier yesterday, was asked by journalists about his absence at the funeral of Mujahid Khan on Tuesday.

“I was in my assembly constituency of Katihar when Khan’s body was brought to Bhojpur, which was 600 kms away. So there was bound to be some delay”, Singh had said.

Upon being pressed further, an exasperated Singh shot back “what would have my reaching Peero earlier achieved.

Would it have brought the slain CRPF jawan back to life?”

Opposition RJD and Congress latched on the matter to attack Nitish Kumar ministry.

Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Tejashwi Yadav said in a statement, “if the minister could not show due respect to the martyr, he should have at least not insulted the CRPF jawan in this manner”.

“Chief Minister Nitish Kumar must sack the minister.

If he is wary of doing so, on account of the minister belonging to his powerful ally the BJP, he should tender his resignation”, Yadav said.

Yadav was joined in the demand by acting president of the state Congress Kaukab Qadri, who said “the remark shows the mindset of the minister and proves that he does not deserve to hold the post”.

Senior BJP leader and state minister Nand Kishore Yadav, when asked about the episode, told reporters here “I am not aware of what exactly Vinod Singh has said. But I will speak to him”.

Mujahid Khan was killed in a gunbattle on Monday last when militants had attacked a CRPF camp in Srinagar.

His family had earlier this week declined to accept a cheque of Rs five lakh, paid by the state government as ex-gratia, saying the policy of giving a compensation of Rs 11 lakh to next of the kin of slain army personnel and a lesser amount to family members of paramilitary jawans was discriminatory. PTI

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