Nitish should remove Bhim Singh if he has pride: Lalu Yadav

Patna, Aug. 9 (ANI): Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav on Friday mounted pressure on the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) Government in Bihar to remove Panchayati Raj Minister Bhim Singh for his insensitive remark on soldiers killed by Pakistani troops at the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

"If Nitish Kumar has some pride, he would remove this minister from his cabinet. Such things cannot be tolerated. He should be removed within a minute. He did not apologise, he just said he regretted this remark," Yadav told media in Patna.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar yesterday expressed regret for his cabinet colleague Bhim Singh's appalling remark.

"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 in New Delhi.

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," he added.

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 yesterday 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 yesterday 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)

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