Under fire for his ‘dog’ remark in the wake of the death of two Dalit children in Faridabad, Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (retd) V K Singh was cautioned Friday by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who said leaders of the ruling party “can’t get away by saying that statements were misinterpreted or twisted”.
This came even as V K Singh’s remarks found an echo in poll-bound Bihar where BJP ally Jitan Ram Manjhi demanded action against him and urged the Prime Minister to intervene while Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told a rally that “if there is ‘jungle raj’ in Bihar, then isn’t Haryana witnessing mangal raj?”
In New Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) filed a police complaint against V K Singh.
Rajnath Singh said: “I feel that as leaders of the ruling party, we must be extra cautious while making any statement. All leaders must ensure that statements are reflected in proper perspective and cannot be misinterpreted. We can’t get away by saying that statements were misinterpreted or twisted. We need to be extra careful while putting forth our views.”
On Thursday, attempting to delink the Centre from the killing of the two Dalit children in Faridabad, V K Singh had said, “For everything… like if somebody throws a stone at a dog, then the central government is responsible… it is not like that.”
The AAP, meanwhile, approached the Delhi Police against the MoS, seeking action against him under the SC/ST Act. AAP leader Ashutosh claimed the police had “assured” them of an investigation into the matter. “The police told us they will first inquire into the complaint,” AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj said.
In Bihar, Nitish Kumar told a rally, “The people voted for them (the BJP) in Haryana and helped them form the government. What happened there? Dalit kids were burnt in Haryana. If there is ‘jungle raj’ in Bihar, then isn’t Haryana witnessing mangal raj?”
Manjhi sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention. “If V K Singh has compared the incident of burning of Dalits with (throwing stones at) dogs, the Prime Minister should take cognisance of it and initiate appropriate action against him,” he said in a statement. He added that strict action would ensure that “no leader would dare make such a statement on atrocities against Dalits”.
At the BJP headquarters, party spokespersons also echoed Rajnath Singh. “It was an unfortunate statement. Leaders should be sensitive,” BJP’s Dalit leader Bizay Sonkar Shastri said. But he said V K Singh had expressed regret for his “dog analogy”.
A former chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, Shastri also attacked the panel’s current chairperson P L Punia for “acting like a Congress leader”and criticised Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and BSP chief Mayawati for “politicising” the issue.
Addressing another news conference in the afternoon, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar also disapproved of Singh’s remarks. “On every issue, comments should be made keeping in mind their sensitivity,” he said.
— With PTI