New Delhi, Aug. 8 (ANI): Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday expressed regret for the insensitive comment made by his cabinet colleague Bhim Singh on soldiers killed by Pakistani troops at the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir two days ago, and revealed that he spoke to him immediately on knowing about it.
"I regret what my colleague has said. I apologise and express regret over the remark. We salute the sacrifice made by the martyrs," he told media here.
Kumar further said Bhim Singh had realized his mistake.
"As soon as I heard his comment, I called him up. He said that he made a mistake. It is very sad that my cabinet minister gave such a comment," said Kumar.
"We have to respect our martyrs. The whole country is indebted to the soldiers and to give respect to the martyrs is our duty.
The Bihar Chief Minister had earlier announced state honours for the martyrs, and also announced Rs.10 lakh as ex-gratia payment to each of the affected families
Bhim Singh, who is Bihar's Panchayati Raj Minister, had earlier apologized for his insensitive remark.
"I apologize if my distorted comments have caused pain to the people. The chief minister called me up and expressed his displeasure over my comment. My comments have been distorted, I had not said that," he told media in Patna.
In an insult to the men in uniform, Bhim Singh had said that people joined the Indian Army and the police force just to die.
"Sena aur police me log marne hi jate hain (People join the army and the police force only to die)," he told media in Patna, when asked about the absence of state ministers at the airport to receive to coffins carrying the bodies of four martyred soldiers from Bihar.
"Did your father and mother go (to receive the soldiers' bodies)," he added, while posing a counter question to a reporter.
There was no minister at the Patna airport last night to receive the bodies of the soldiers. The bodies of the soldiers were brought to Patna by special plane last night.
The mortal remains of Sepoy Vijay Kumar Rai, Lance Naik Shambhu Saran Singh and Premnath Singh and Sepoy Raghunandan Prasad from 21 Bihar regiment, who were among five soldiers killed along LoC, were today consigned to flames at their native villages of with full state honours.
Hundreds of people gathered at the cremation grounds to pay their homage to the brave soldiers who were martyred in the Poonch sector on Tuesday. (ANI)