New Delhi/Jaipur: Admitting his “mistake” of going ahead with his speech at the rally where a farmer from Rajasthan committed suicide, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today tendered an apology, which was “rejected” by the family of the deceased, who 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 told a news channel.
Still bitter, the family of Gajendra Singh, 41, who ended his life by hanging from a tree at an AAP rally on Wednesday, 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 farmer’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 told PTI.
Referring to the turf war between Delhi police and his government over a parallel magisterial probe, Kejriwal said he was prepared to file his statement to the police, if needed.
The Delhi police had yesterday claimed a magistrate had no jurisdiction to investigate the case already being probed by the police. District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar had, however, said it was incumbent upon the police to cooperate in the inquiry as CrPC provided for the police informing the nearest executive magistrate in case of a suicide who will then hold a parallel probe.
“District Magistrate has the jurisdiction to investigate under the CrPC and the police does criminal investigation based on FIR…if police calls me I will go to file my statement,” Kejriwal said, striking a conciliatory note.
The Delhi Chief Minister also softened his party’s stand that the police personnel at the rally venue were mute spectators to the tragic incident and made no efforts to save Singh.
“We should not say that all policemen are bad. Should not indulge in blame game. I believe if police had the slightest inkling they would have tried to save him. They must have genuinely thought nothing of that sort was taking place,” he said.
The incident, Kejriwal said, caused him to lose sleep. “I am saying this happened in front of the Delhi CM. I couldn’t sleep the whole night,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan health minister Rajendra Rathore handed over a cheque for Rs 4 lakh to the family on the behalf of BJP.
Gajendra’s uncle told journalists that the family has demanded the status of a ‘Shaheed’ (martyr) for him and sought the scheme for providing relief to distressed farmers to be named after him.
The family also discussed with the state minister arrangements for providing good education to Gajendra’s children and a government job to one of his family members. Gopal Singh said the minister assured the distraught family that he would take up the issue with Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. Gajendra is survived by his wife and three children.