Comfortable sofas, new curtains, carpets and an air-conditioner were placed in a freshly painted room of a slain soldier’s humble home when Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath called on the family to offer his condolences.
When Adityanath left, so did the accessories.
“The AC, sofas and carpet were removed immediately after the CM’s visit. The walls of the room were painted hurriedly a night before his visit (on May 12),” said Daya Shankar, younger brother of BSF soldier Prem Sagar Prasad.
Local officials had installed the AC, changed the curtains, and placed sofas and carpets in the room before the chief minister’s visit to Prem Sagar’s native Tikampur in Deoria district.
An official justified the move saying the “sofa, AC and carpet were the part of protocol and there was nothing wrong in removing them later”.
The 45-year-old BSF head constable was killed and mutilated along with Paramjit Singh, an army officer, when rogue Pakistani soldiers and militants ambushed an Indian border patrol on May 1. Their decapitated bodies were found later.
The beheadings triggered nationwide outrage and the BSF man’s family initially refused to cremate him unless Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the chief minister were present.
The villagers were pacified after Adityanath promised he will meet the family on or before the terahwi, the 13th day after someone’s death when rituals are performed.
He came and handed a cheque of Rs 4 lakh to the family, announced a memorial and a college for girls to be named after the Prem Sagar at his village.
But he left with a trail of criticism. Pictures of the chief minister sitting on a sofa and another showing the room without the stage-managed frills went viral on Facebook and WhatsApp.
The Congress and Samajwadi Party condemned the incident.
“This is disrespect to a slain soldier. What the administration has done is not right. We believe the chief minister will take some steps,” Congress leader Dwijendra Tripathi said.
(With agency inputs)