Bihar chief minister, Nitish Kumar, and his alliance partner, the BJP, were left utterly exposed this week after their shameful treatment to India’s martyr, Mujahid Khan. 24-year-old Mujahid Khan of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was laid to rest in his native village of Piro in Bhojpur district on 14 February with full military honour.
No one from the state government turned to pay their last respect to the martyr, who had sacrificed his life defending India’s sovereignty. Neither Nitish Kumar nor any member of the BJP chose to visit the family. Even senior officials of the district including the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police were conspicuous with their absence.
Adding insult to injury was the state government’s offer of Rs 5 lakh compensation for the martyr’s family, who rightly rejected the money saying that Mujahid had died fighting terrorists and not by drinking hooch.
If this was not enough, one of Nitish Kumar’s ministers and a senior BJP leader, Vinod Singh, made a shocking justification on why no one from the government had turned up at Mujahid’s funeral. Singh said, “I have saluted him from the core of my heart. My presence would have made no difference. Would my presence bring him to life?”
The state government’s insensitivity wasn’t just confined to slain Mujahid. Kishore Kumar Munna, another soldier from Bihar’s Khagaria district, had suffered serious injuries in cross-border shelling by Pakistan last Sunday. Kishore later succumbed to his injuries at a military hospital in Jammu. His last rites too were performed in his native village in Bihar on Tuesday. Again, no one from the state government turned up to meet the family or attend the martyr’s funeral. The state government had merely offered a compensation of Rs 11 lakh to the family.
These two incidents and the insensitivity shown by both the JDU and its partner BJP expose the utter hypocrisy of the saffron party on nationalism. The BJP has long claimed to have represented the soldiers’ cause while also milking the issue of nationalism to extract much-needed political mileage. Their attitude towards Mujahid and Kishore conclusively prove that soldiers are only relevant to the BJP and its allies as long as they help them reap electoral advantage.
Much to the respite of the families of Kishore and Mujahid, the members of the armed forces stood rock solid in their moments of agony while paying their respect to the martyrs.