Kejriwal admits rally mistake, victim’s family unimpressed

Friday, Apr 24, 2015,18:33 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi/Jaipur | Facing criticism for his insensitivity in going ahead with his speech at the rally where a farmer from Rajasthan committed suicide, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today acknowledged his mistake and tendered an apology, which was rejected by the family of the deceased.
The family of farmer Gajendra Singh, 41, who ended his life by hanging himself from a tree at a rally called by AAP on Wednesday, rejected the apology and demanded a CBI probe into the incident. I was to deliver an hour-long speech but I wrapped it up in 10-15 mins. I think that was my mistake. Probably I should not have spoken. If that has hurt anynone’s sentiments I would like to apologise, an under-fire Kejriwal said.
He, however, insisted that the focus should not deviate from the real issues being faced by the farmers. I am guilty. Blame me. I feel the rally should have been called off. But please focus on the real issue of the farmers and desist from politicking. Whoever is guilty hang him but the focus of the debate should be on why the farmers are committing suicide, Kejriwal said.
The Delhi CM had drawn flak for making a 20-minute speech at his Jantar Mantar rally even after the incident had taken place. Not even caring to reach the spot where Gajendra’s lifeless body had fallen after his death, Kejriwal had ranted against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of working for the super rich.
Senior AAP leader Kumar Vishwas had said the incident was an attempt to sabotage the rally and sully the party’s image, unwittingly implicating Gajendra Singh in a sinister plot to discredit his party. In another comment considered crass by many, another senior AAP leader Ashutosh had said the next time anybody tries to commit suicide he would tell Kejriwal to rescue him.
If Arvind had stopped his speech midway, there would have been a stampede-like situation. And why are we being blamed? What did the policemen do? Not even a single policeman moved despite repeated requests by the CM. The next time anyone tries to commit suicide, I will ask the Delhi CM to climb the tree and save him, he said but later apologised for his remarks.
Still to come to terms with the tragedy, Gajendra’s family refused to accept Kejriwal’s apology. What will happen now after this apology? My brother has died. Kejriwal did not stop the rally for even two minutes after the incident, the Gajendra’s sister Rekha told reporters at his native Nangal Jhamarwada village in Dausa district of Rajasthan.
Backing the conspiracy theory behind her brother’s tragic death, she said, He might have been provoked… some conspiracy may be behind this. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had yesterday said AAP supporters clapped and raised slogans as Singh stood atop a tree with a towel fashioned as noose tied around his neck. The Delhi police’s FIR too alleged they instigated the farmer to commit suicide and thwarted their attempts to save him.
Gajendra’s uncle, Gopal Singh, the village Sarpanch, demanded a CBI probe into the incident. We have doubts about this incident and demand a CBI inquiry in the case. We have asked (state) minister Rajendra Rathore to take up this matter with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Gopal Singh said.