New Delhi: The Congress on Monday criticised Union minister Gen VK Singh (retd) for his reported “insensitive” remark comparing the demand for compensation to the families of 39 Indians killed in Iraq to demanding "biscuits", and said it was "heartless, shameful and reprehensible".
The minister, a former Army chief, was speaking to the media at the Amritsar airport, where he arrived by a special transport plane, accompanying the coffins of the Indians killed in Mosul after they went missing in 2014.
"Ye biscuit baantne wala kaam nahi hai, ye admiyon ki zindagi ka sawal hai, a gayi baat samajh mein? Main abhi elaan kahan se karoon? Jeb mein koi pitaara thodi rakha hua hai (Giving compensation is not like distributing biscuits. It is the question of people who have been killed. Hope you get that. How do you expect me to announce now? I am not carrying carrying a chest full of money with me,)" General Singh snapped when asked about compensation. On jobs for relatives of the workers, the minister said "this is not a game of football."
The statement made by VK Singh drew criticism from the opposition.
Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said Singh's remark was like rubbing salt on the wounds of those dead.
"39 Indians were killed in Mosul, Iraq, as Modi Government continuously misled the families and Nation. Minister, V.K. Singh is now rubbing 'salt on the wounds' by rubbishing the demands for compensation for the families as akin to demand for ‘biscuits'. Heartless, Shameful and Reprehensible!," he wrote on Twitter.
39 Indians were killed in Mosul, Iraq as Modi Govt continuously misled the families & Nation.— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) April 2, 2018
Min., V.K.Singh is now rubbing ‘salt on the wounds’ by rubbishing the demands for compensation for the families as akin to demand for ‘biscuits’.
Heartless, Shameful & Reprehensible! pic.twitter.com/52lxJ25T61
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien also termed the remark as “insensitive” and said the minister used "inappropriate words".
“General Foot in Mouth mantri at it again. Insensitive. "Football" and "Biscuits"... inappropriate words when you are mourning the 39 dead #MosulTragedy Iraq,” O'brien said on Twitter.
General Foot in Mouth mantri at it again. Insensitive. "Football" and "Biscuits"... inappropriate words when you are mourning the 39 dead #MosulTragedy Iraq— Derek O'Brien (@derekobrienmp) April 2, 2018
On March 20, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had told parliament that the Indians hostages in Iraq were killed by the ISIS and their death was confirmed after DNA tests on remains dug up in Mosul, with tell-tale signs like kada (bangles), long hair, non-Iraqi shoes and turbans.
The remains of 31 Indians, who were from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, were handed over to officials at the Amritsar airport. The rest were from Bihar and West Bengal. The remains of the 39th worker have not been brought back as DNA tests have not been conclusive....