Bihar Mines and Geology department minister Vinod Singh has courted controversy with his “insensitive” remarks about CRPF jawan Mujahid Khan, who had died fighting militants in Jammu and Kashmir early this week.
When asked about the delay in reaching the martyr soldier’s family, the minister 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, 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?”
The opposition RJD and Congress have asked for the removal of the minister. 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.
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.