Mumbai: It is customary for people offering condolence to respectfully leave their footwear outside the funeral area, unless otherwise directed.
However, this courtesy was forgotten by three BJP ministers when they went to pay their respects to slain CRPF jawan Ajay Kumar on Tuesday. Obviously, the minds of Union Minister Satyapal Singh, Uttar Pradesh minister Sidharth Nath Singh and Meerut BJP lawmaker Rajendra Agarwal were so weighed down by matters of state that they (allegedly) entered the cremation ground with their shoes on.
Family and well-wishers took offence when they noticed the leaders’ slip-up and made their feelings known. One person was seen hurling expletives at the BJP leaders, leaving them with no option but to remove their footwear or face the wrath of the crowd. Eventually, the leaders apologised with folded hands, and complied.
In another video clip, Satya Pal Singh can be seen bursting into laughter while in conversation with his party colleagues, even as huge crowds had gathered at the site to mourn the death of Kumar. The incident was recorded by one of the relatives of the soldier.
Kumar (27) was among the four army men killed in an encounter with JEM terrorists in Pulwama on Monday. He was from Bassi Tikri village in Meerut in western Uttar Pradesh. On social media, this blunder by the leaders evoked angry reactions, with people wondering how those espousing Hindu values and nationalism with every breath could have behaved in such an insensitive manner.
“Bahut optimistic log hain ye, har situation mein chhoti-chhoti khushiyan dhund lete hain. (They manage to find happiness in every situation.)”, read one tweet. “After a few months it will be the turn of the people to laugh,” warned another. In a similar incident recently, BJP MP from UP Sakshi Maharaj, was seen laughing and greeting crowds as he occupied the front spot in the vehicle carrying remains of another CRPF jawan in Unnao on February 16.