New Delhi: Congress on Tuesday disapproved of
senior party leader Digvijay Singh`s controversial remarks
about the sea burial given to al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden
by the US.
"We disapprove of it," a top party functionary, who
declined to be named said after Congress President Sonia
Gandhi had a meeting with party leaders including Singh.
Singh had yesterday said, "However big a criminal one
might be, his religious traditions should be respected while
burying him", when asked about Laden`s burial at sea.
A senior Congress leader speaking on the condition of
anonymity, however, questioned Singh`s contention, remarking
sarcastically, "Was Osama engaged in some noble work?"
The leader said, "Singh speaks unnecessary things many
times. It is not good to promote personal constituency always.
It does not succeed. Muslims do not get pleased by such
things. Such statements are taken as communal. It is not good
to go out and speak on every issue."
The party had given an indication of its disppproval
of Singh`s remarks earlier during the day when its spokesman
Manish Tewari parried questions on whether Singh`s statement
on Laden`s burial is the official party view.
"On the question of Laden and terror per se, we have
repeatedly cleared our position.
"The position of Congress has been very clearly
articulated and delineated. We have nothing further to say on
the articulation (of the party) on the neutralization of Laden
after what we said yesterday," he said.
Tewari said, "If you sow the wind, you reap the
whirlwind", adding that he was making this observation in
relation to all terrorists and terrorist organizations.
The US has maintained that the body was handled in
accordance with Islamic practice and tradition. The burial at
sea was apparently due to fears that his land burial may
become a site to attract his followers. However, some Islamic
organisations have said that it was not appropriate.
Singh, however, dismissed as "absolutely rubbish"
reports that he was summoned by Sonia Gandhi in the wake of
his statement on the sea burial of Laden. He said he had gone
to Gandhi`s official residence at 10 Janpath for a meeting in
which many senior leaders including Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi
Azad and Suresh Pachauri were also present.
"My statement was not discussed. It is absolutely
rubbish," he said.