Patna: Apparently rebuked by the JD(U) leadership, Bihar Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh on Sunday said he "regretted" his remarks giving clean chit to Pakistan for the killing of five Indian soldiers on LoC.
However, at the same time, he accused the media of twisting his comments out of context. "I regret my remarks giving clean chit to Pakistan for the killing of five Indian soldiers on the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday last," Singh told media at a hurriedly-convened press conference at his official residence.
"I am sorry if my remarks have hurt the sentiments of any individual," he said categorically, but again shifted the blame on media for "twisting" his remarks out of context. Singh also candidly admitted that he was ill-informed that
Indian soldiers were killed by militants to create a wedge between the two neighbours, but he has now come to know it was the handiwork of the Pakistani Army for which the Indian government should take the sternest possible action against Islamabad.
He admitted that he has been issued a show cause notice by the JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav and said he will reply soon. On being told that his remarks have caused huge embarrassment to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on top of an insensitive comments for the armed forces by his ministerial colleague, Singh said: "I have already regretted my remarks.... "If the Chief Minister seeks my resignation, I will be ready to hand over the letter at any time."
He, however, defended his remarks describing Pakistan as a younger brother and a neighbour and said it was outcome of his socialist ideology and a vision that India should have good relations with all its neighbours.
Describing himself as a patriotic citizen, Singh confirmed he will happily give the last drop of his blood in the service of the nation. He demanded a national policy for compensation and related benefits to the kin of martyrs and said that a minimum Rs 50 lakh as compensation, besides job, houses and studies of the children of those soldiers laying down their lives for the country should be ensured and taken care of the government.
On asked about the reason for defending his ministerial colleague Bhim Singh for his insensitive remarks that the policemen and soldiers are recruited to lay down their lives for the country, he said the minister concerned has already apologised and the matter is closed.
The Agriculture Minister had earlier been quoted as giving clean chit to Pakistan for killing of five Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir and termed it as handiwork of militants in disguise of the Pakistani troops and described Islamabad as a younger brother and a good neighbour.
An embarrassed Nitish Kumar had regretted his cabinet colleague's remark even as the JD(U) national president issued show cause notices to the two.