A day after Union Home Minister Rajanath Singh condemned the attack by militants on the Indian forces in South Kashmir's Lethapora, which killed five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Nepal Singh faced flak for making controversial statement over the deaths.
The 77-year-old BJP said on Monday, January 1, that there is no country in the world where men in the armed forces don't die in a fight, and that it is a daily affair.
Singh also pointed at rural areas and said: "When there is a scuffle in a village, someone is bound to get injured. Tell me one device that can help in saving lives. Name any such device that can make the bullets ineffective and we will get that implemented."
However the MP from Uttar Pradesh's Rampur on Tuesday apologised for his comments and claimed he did not mean to hurt the sentiments of or defame the armed forces.
He said: "I was saying that the scientists are trying to discover devices that can help safeguard the lives of the soldiers."
Singh's comments grabbed attention because they came after the Union home minister said the soldiers' "sacrifice won't go in vain", while the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti called the attacks cruel.
Political rivals of the BJP took the opportunity to attack the saffron party. It described Singh's comments as "sign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's foreign policy".
"As the year draws to a close we get a terrible reminder of how bad things are in the valley. My condolences to the families of the CRPF personnel killed in the attack [sic]," wrote former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah on his Twitter handle.
Five CRPF men were martyred in the gunbattle between the militants and the forces in Kashmir on Sunday, while three militants were killed in the encounter.
The attack by militants was reportedly in response to the recent killing of Jaish militant Noor Mohammad Tantray, and came days after Indian Army killed three Pakistani soldiers in a cross-LoC attack.
Special DG, CRPF, SN Srivastava was quoted by the Indian Express as saying: "The operation continued throughout the night. One of the militants who was hiding was killed and the operation was concluded."