Gen. Singh’s statement sets off another controversy

His comment on killing of Dalits draws flak.

Updated - November 16, 2021 04:21 pm IST

Published - October 23, 2015 12:13 am IST - NEW DELHI

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar with Jitender, whose house was set afire allegedly by upper caste men, at Sunperh village in Faridabad on Thursday.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar with Jitender, whose house was set afire allegedly by upper caste men, at Sunperh village in Faridabad on Thursday.

Union Minister and former Army Chief General (retired) V.K. Singh found himself in the midst of yet another controversy, this time over the killing of the two Dalit children (one an infant of 11 months) in Faridabad, Haryana two days ago. The two children were burnt to death, and their mother is struggling for her life in hospital.

Asked about the atrocity in Haryana, Gen. Singh said the Central government could not be associated with every incident, and the local administration had to be blamed for it. “For everything like, if somebody throws a stone at a dog, then the government is responsible, it is not like that,” he added. The >remark sparked off furious reactions across the board including from Gen. Singh’s party colleague and MP Udit Raj.

“Gen. Singh has issued an official statement. But if he has made the remarks in the context of what happened at Sunperh village, I disagree with him,” Mr. Raj said.

BJP ally and Hindustani Awam Morcha leader Jiten Ram Manjhi also criticised the remarks. “Gen. Singh’s remarks reflect his feudal mindset,” he said in Bihar, in the midst of campaigning for the Assembly polls.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the General should be booked under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh said his party would file an FIR soon. All India Congress Committee general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala demanded that General Singh be sacked from the Union Cabinet for the “insensitive” remarks.

Nitish ‘aghast’

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar was “aghast at the senseless comment made by some BJP leaders, including a Union Minister, on the tragic killing of Dalits in Haryana.”

His ally, the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Prasad used more pungent language. “Although the tongue has no vertebrae, the senseless comments by the Modi government’s Ministers is hitting at the very spinal cord of the country,” he said on Twitter.

The BJP got the Minister to withdraw his statement immediately. “My statement was not intended to draw an analogy. My men & I put our lives on the line 4 the nation irrespective of caste, creed & religion. I standby to serve India with the same spirit, right now and always,” he said.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra too defended General Singh. “He [General Singh] has already issued a clarification. Nobody from our party can say such things. As for Mr. Kejriwal and his party, he should reflect on the fact that apart from Delhi he has been busy with all other States. A whole family got wiped out in Delhi when a child of 11 lost his life because he was not admitted to a hospital for treatment of dengue. His family members killed themselves over it. He hasn’t bothered to visit that family while expressing his opinion on matters that do not concern his State,” he said.

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