Nitish draws flak for 'disrespect' towards Sukma martyrs

Nitish draws flak for 'disrespect' towards Sukma martyrs

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday drew sharp flak for not paying last respects to the Sukma martyrs from this State when their bodies arrived at the Patna airport.

It is learnt that when the special aircraft carrying the bodies of five braves reached here at the Jaya Prakash Narayan International Airport on Tuesday evening, Nitish was busy watching movie on Mahatma Gandhi. The movie was being screened, as part of the Champaran Satyagrah centenary celebration, at a special auditorium for the VVIPs, not very far off from the airport.

Surprisingly, not a single minister from the Grand Alliance (comprising the JD-U, RJD, and the Congress) deemed it fit to pay homage to the five martyrs who lost their lives at Sukma in Chhattisgarh in a Maoist attack.

Altogether, six CRPF personnel from Bihar were killed in Chhattisgarh attack. However the bodies of five - Abhay Mishra (of Bhojpur), Saurabh Kumar (Danapur), Abhay Kumar (Vaishali), Ranjit Kumar (Sheikhpura) and Naresh Yadav (Darbhanga) - were flown to Patna. The body of the sixth martyr Krishna Kumar Pandey was flown to Varanasi (UP) from where it was sent to his native place – Sasaram (in western Bihar), an hour drive from Varanasi.

Nitish later expressed condolence and said that the last rites of the martyrs would be performed with full State honours. He also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of each of the six jawans killed.

But the Opposition BJP said it was too little, too late. “Nitish Kumar erred on three fronts. First, he was busy watching a film on Mahatma Gandhi when the bodies of martyrs arrived here. He could have spared a few minutes and paid tributes to the brave men. Secondly, when the truck carrying the bodies of martyrs was crossing, it was stopped to make way for Nitish’s cavalcade, who too was passing through the same route at the same time. Thirdly, Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia amount is too meagre a sum at a time when the other State Governments have announced Rs 20 lakh each to the martyr’s family,” said senior BJP leader Binod Naryan Jha.

Notably, Union Minister Ram Kripal Yadav was present at the airport, besides senior district officials and three local MLAs - Arun Kumar, Sanjeev Chaurasia and Shyam Razak - when the bodies of martyrs were flown to Patna. “Nitish’s indifferent approach shows what kind of respect he has for those brave-hearts who lay down their lives fighting for the country,” averred Union Minister of State for Rural Development Ram Kripal.

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