AMID HEAVY protests by Left Front supporters against his remarks regarding the incident in which a Dalit family was set on fire in Haryana’s Faridabad, leading to the death of two children, Union Minister V K Singh on Sunday said “his opinions were his own”.
“My opinions are my opinions. That’s it,” he said on the sidelines of a book release programme held at the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata. Singh, who was in Kolkata for the release of a book penned by him, had kicked up a huge political row when he tried to shield the Centre from blame in the Faridabad incident, saying the “government cannot be held responsible if somebody stones a dog”.
The Hindi version of his book Courage and Conviction, named Sahas aur Sankalp, was launched by Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi at Raj Bhavan.
At the event, Singh took a dig at the media, saying it had the habit of misquoting people to make news more palatable.
Speaking about his book, Singh said that it was a record of several interesting incidents. “I was once asked by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram, why can’t Armymen be deployed in Naxal-hit areas. I said Army’s work is not to shoot its own countrymen. Its work is to defend the country. They are our people from a different socio-economic background. They are a deprived group and there are other ways to deal with them. He didn’t like my reply but never said so on my face… never spoke to me after that as well,” Singh said.
Tripathi, a former Speaker of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, was all praise for Singh and claimed that the former Army chief had thought about the welfare of all irrespective of rank and position.
Earlier in the day, Singh was greeted with protests and shown black flags by Left Front supporters at different places over his comments since his arrival in Kolkata for the book release.
A group of around 60 protesters waved black flags in front of the Raj Bhavan’s south gate and raised slogans of “V K Singh go back”, shortly before the book
release function in the afternoon.
In the morning, Left supporters had waved black flags and raised slogans against Singh as he arrived at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.
According to airport sources, Singh’s convoy got stuck on its way to Kolkata due to the demonstration held by over 100 Left supporters. At 3.30 pm. Left supporters also burnt an effigy of Singh and demanded his resignation over his alleged anti-Dalit remarks at a protest at Esplanade.
When contacted, Leader of Opposition Surya Kanta Mishra said: “We demand Singh’s removal for his inhuman comments. During our protest, 33 of our supporters have been arrested.”