Zee Media Bureau
Patna: In a disgraceful and insensitive remark, Bihar`s Rural Works Department Minister Bhim Singh on Thursday said that people join police and armed forces only to die.
"Jawans (soldiers) are born to be martyred. Why else do people join Army and the police force?," he told reporters.
After being rapped by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his insensitive comments, Singh later apologised and said his statements had been distorted and taken out of context.
Kumar had reportedly asked Singh to immediately tender an unconditional apology to the families of the martyred soldiers hailing from Bihar, withdraw the remark and not to repeat such statements in the future.
At a time when the whole nation is numb over the killing of five Indian soldiers, out of which four belonged to Bihar, Singh`s thoughtless remarks have drawn huge flak. His comments came on a day when the bodies of the five soldiers killed in Jammu and Kashmir by the Pakistani Army were cremated with full state honours in Bihar and Maharashtra.
When asked why his party, Janata Dal (United), was not represented at the arrival of bodies of martyrs at Patna airport, Singh asked the reporter if his father or mother went to the airport to receive martyrs.
Estranged ally BJP hit out at JD(U) over Bhim Singh`s "insensitive remarks" and said it has no sentiments.
BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said: "This is simply obnoxious, shocking and shameless... any word is less to condemn the statement."
Another party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said a person like Singh does not deserve to be a minister.
A large number of security personnel and men of the regiment along with hundreds of people had gathered near the Patna airport and paid their respect to the soldiers.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had announced a state funeral for all four soldiers and also a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for their families, faced embarrassment on Wednesday when one of the soldiers` widow refused to accept the cheque and demanded "tough" action against Pakistan.