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V.K. Singh made the comments in Ghaziabad in the context of an incident in Faridabad district of Haryana earlier this week in which two Dalit children died when their house was burned down. Photo: Hindustan Times
V.K. Singh made the comments in Ghaziabad in the context of an incident in Faridabad district of Haryana earlier this week in which two Dalit children died when their house was burned down. Photo: Hindustan Times

NCSC notice to UP police on action over VK Singh’s comments

National Commission for Scheduled Castes summons senior police officers on 2 November to explain action under relevant provisions against the minister of state for external affairs

New Delhi: The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) on Friday issued notices to the director general of police (DGP), Uttar Pradesh, and senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Ghaziabad district, asking them what action the police had initiated against minister of state for external affairs V.K. Singh for a comment in which he likened two children who were burned to death to dogs.

The commission asked what action was being taken under the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act. It summoned the senior police officers on 2 November to explain their position in person.

“The commission has taken very serious note of Singh’s comments and we think this is a fit case in which an FIR (first information report) should have been registered immediately by the local police against the minister under IPC and SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act," the commission’s chairperson P.L. Punia told Mint.

Singh made the comments in Ghaziabad in the context of an incident in Faridabad district of Haryana earlier this week in which two Dalit children died when their house was burned down. The mother suffered serious burns.

Seeking to distance the central government from the incident, he was reported as saying: “…if someone throws a stone at a dog, the central government is not responsible." Following a political furore, the former army chief retracted his statement and expressed regret.

“It is indeed very sad that senior ministers are making such insensitive remarks in the wake of the gruesome crime in Faridabad. The least the minister could have done was to express his condolences to the family. Even their own alliance partners like Ram Vilas Paswan have criticized the comment. I have also directed DGP, Uttar Pradesh, and SSP Ghaziabad, to appear before the commission on 2 November to explain what action they have taken so far or propose to take," Punia said.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused Punia of acting like a Congress party spokesperson.

BJP spokesperson Vijay Sonkar Shastri said at a press conference, “Punia must explain whether he wants to act like a Congress spokesperson or somebody in a constitutional post. Can he act as a party leader while holding the National Commission for Scheduled Castes chief’s post? We have strong objections to his comments."

Home minister Rajnath Singh on Friday sent out a strong message to his ministerial colleagues, saying those in power should be extra cautious while making public statements.

“We can’t get away by saying statements were misinterpreted or twisted. We need to be extra careful while putting forth our views," he said following the controversial statements by Singh and minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju on two separate issues.

“I feel that as leaders of the ruling party, we must all be extra cautious while making any statement. We should also ensure that there is no possibility of our statements being interpreted the wrong way or sending out an incorrect message," Singh added.

The minister also said both Singh and Rijiju had already clarified their statements and the controversy should be put to rest.

Rijiju, speaking at a function in New Delhi on Wednesday, said he agreed with a former lieutenant governor of Delhi who once remarked that north Indians “take pride in and enjoy breaking rules".

Clarifying his comments on Thursday, Rijiju said that his comments were applicable to society at large and not directed at any particular section.

Gyan Verma and PTI contributed to this story.

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