Slip of tongue costs dear and spares none from criticism
New Delhi/ Nagpur: Afflicted by unexpected braggings of BJP ministers and party colleagues, and more recently Union Minister V K Singh’s biting remarks on a Dalit family of Sonped (Faridabad, Haryana), whose two children were killed in the incident of torching their dwelling, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on behalf of the government issued a strong ‘salvo’ asking them to restrain themselves from making controversial statements, said media reports.
“Ministers must be careful while making statements. We cannot get away by saying that the statement was misinterpreted,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.
General VK Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs and a former army chief, had said yesterday: “If someone throws stones at a dog, the government is not responsible.”
The comment was seen as extraordinarily insensitive, as the minister was responding to questions on the killing of a two-year-old boy and his 11-month-old sister, who died after their home was set on fire on Monday, allegedly by members of an upper caste, in Faridabad near Delhi.
Asked whether the incident should be seen as a failure of Haryana’s BJP government, General Singh said, “Don’t connect the government with it. It was a feud between two families, the matter is under inquiry.”
The minister later tweeted: “My statement wasn’t intended to draw an analogy. My men and I put our lives on the line for the nation irrespective of caste, creed and religion.” The attempt at damage control has failed to check the tide of condemnation.
Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party has filed a police complaint against the minister.
Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, described General Singh’s comments as “totally insensitive.”
“A central minister said the government is not responsible if stones are thrown at a dog. Comparing the killing of Dalit children pelting dogs with stones, you can only imagine what kind of mentality they have,” Singh in ongoing Bihar polls, said.
In a sign that the controversy might sting the BJP in the middle of the Bihar election, its ally and union minister Ram Vilas Paswan had openly said on the minister’s remarks: “I don’t descend to such low talk, have never done it with any issue.”