After uncharitable remarks by two Bihar ministers on the killing of Indian soldiers on the Line of Control, another minister, Gautam Singh, on Monday said he did not think it mattered that he did not attend the funeral of one of the soldiers, whose home was in his assembly constituency.
"Kya fark parta hain (What difference does it make)," Science and Technology Minister Gautam Singh told reporters when asked why he did not attend the funeral of Sepoy Premnath Singh.
"I did not visit the families immediately after getting information about the death of the jawans because the bodies had not arrived, but went immediately on my return from Delhi (on Friday)," he said.
He said that he had to go to Delhi by train on Tuesday night for the treatment of his brother at AIIMS.
The minister was also asked why he called on the soldier's family a day after the funeral despite knowing that the Sepoy's home village, Samhauta, was part of his Manjhi assembly seat in Saran district.
The minister, who claimed he was related to the slain Sepoy, admitted he had received information about the soldiers last Tuesday when he was in Chhapra, the district headquarters of the district.
He said that after returning home on August 9, which was a day after the funeral, he went to Premnath Singh's home to meet his family members. He also visited the family soldier Raghunandan Prasad, who was also a resident of Saran district.
Other ministers, including Narendra Singh and Awdesh Kushwaha, had visited the families of the victims in Saran district, he said.
Gautam Singh had to face the people’s ire when he went to the home of Premnath Singh and was held by them for nearly two hours, as they wanted a visit by the chief minister to the village.
The minister said that he was with the army's 7 Danapur Regiment between 1972 and 1980.
The 21 Danapur regiment, to which the four slain jawans belonged to, formed during this period, he said.