Congress distances itself from Digvijay’s Osama remarks

May 3rd, 2011 - 11:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh found himself caught in another controversy Tuesday with the party distancing itself from his remarks about the need for even hardened criminals getting last rites according to their religious beliefs.

Party spokesman Manish Tewari parried questions on whether Singh’s remarks concerning terrorist Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea was the party’s official view.

“On the question of bin Laden and terror, we have repeatedly cleared our position. The position of the Congress has been very clearly articulated and delineated. We have nothing further to say on the neutralisation of bin Laden after what we said yesterday,” Tewari said.

Making an observation in relation to all terrorists and terrorist organisations, Tewari said: “If you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind.”

A senior leader disapproved of Singh’s remarks and said he should have shown more sensitivity.

“He sometimes speaks needlessly…The effect of his words is communal,” the leader said, adding that it amounted to addressing a personal constituency.

He said bin Laden was not a saint and there could be reasons for his burial at sea.

Singh also met Congress president Sonia Gandhi Tuesday evening.

However, there was no confirmation from party leaders that the meeting was in the context of Singh’s remarks.

Singh, on his part, defended his remarks and said he had not mentioned Osama.

Replying to queries about his remarks, Singh said he had answered a question posed to him and had stated that even worst of criminal should be given burial according to his faith.

Singh blamed the media for creating the controversy.

“I stand by my remarks,” he said, adding that if the party had left him alone, he would not be in his chair.

Singh had been in controversy earlier over some of his remarks relating to civil society activists on the joint drafting committee on the Lokpal Bill.

Though the party had backed him initially, it did not approve his remarks on the performance of Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, who is a member of the drafting committee.

Singh said later he never meant disrespect to Hegde.

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