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'Insensitive' Akhilesh skips slain jawan's funeral

January 11, 2013 21:18 IST
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has drawn much flak for not attending the funeral of the Indian soldier who was killed by the Pakistan army along the Line of Control, despite the fact that the soldier belonged to the state.

His critics feel that the chief minister did not even care to send his representatives to the funeral that was carried out with military honours in Mathura on Thursday.

Both the Bahujan Samaj Party and Bhartiya Janta Party have been vocal in condemning Akhilesh, who has been accused of being "totally insensitive."

As an afterthought to the criticism, the chief minister on Friday sent a cheque of Rs 20 lakh to the family of the slain soldier.

Earlier on Thursday, Akhilesh had told mediaersons in Ghaziabad, "Two jawans were killed near the LoC. One of them belongs to a village from Mathura. The UP government has decided to give an ex-gratia relief of Rs 20 lakh to the family."

He was in Ghaziabad to attend the closing ceremony of a national-level weightlifting championship.

The two soldiers gunned down by the Pakistan army on January 8 were identified as Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh. While Hemraj hailed from UP, Sudhakar belonged to Madhya Pradesh, where the chief minister personally went to attend the funeral and handed over a cheque of Rs 15 lakh to the bereaved family.

However, 29-year-old Hemraj, who died a martyr, was only honoured by the army. Civil authorities did not attend his funeral.

Hailing from Shernagar village in Mathura district, Hemraj is survived by his wife, mother, two tiny daughters and a son.

Flaying the chief minister, BJP veteran and Lucknow MP Lalji Tandon said, "The UP chief minister decided to send Rs 20 lakh only after the MP CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan had shown the gesture."

He went on to add, "I feel that because of the politics of vote, the Samajwadi Party preferred to ignore the incident. I am sure that Akhilesh Yadav would have condemned the incident if Pakistan was not involved and that is highly condemnable."

BSP supremo Mayawati was also vehemently critical of the CM and his party for its failure to pay due respect and homage to the departed martyr. "A soldier, who was the son of the UP soil, had laid down his life for the country in very exceptional circumstances and the chief minister does not find time to even send a representative to stand up with the bereaved family," she said.

She told reporters, "This only reflects the insensitivity of the Akhilesh Yadav government, which must provide financial assistance to the family and a job to the hero's widow."

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow