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HomePoliticsNot just ‘Modi’s Army’, these are 5 other times VK Singh disowned...

Not just ‘Modi’s Army’, these are 5 other times VK Singh disowned his comments

From comparing Dalit children to ‘dogs’, to calling journalists ‘presstitutes’, Gen. (retd) V.K. Singh has often taken a U-turn after controversial statements.

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New Delhi: General (retd) Vijay Kumar Singh, the former Chief of Army Staff and Minister of State for External Affairs in the Narendra Modi government, has developed a reputation for courting controversy with his statements, and then either retracting them or blaming journalists for misquoting him once he starts getting flak.

The latest instance came Friday, when Singh tweeted that he had been misquoted by BBC Hindi over remarks that seemed to slam Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who had described the Indian Army as “Modiji ki sena” (Modi’s army).

“BBC Hindi did the very thing for which I use the presstitute label,” Singh tweeted.

It was in response to an interview aired by BBC Hindi Thursday, in which Singh appears to directly condemn the politicisation of the army by Adityanath.

“If anyone says that the Indian Army is Modiji’s army, then he is not just wrong but also a traitor. India’s army is India’s, not a political party’s. India’s army is neutral, capable and apolitical. I don’t know who is talking like this,” Singh said in the video.

What Singh did not expect was support for his statement from the opposition. Sonia Gandhi’s trusted aide and Congress heavyweight Ahmed Patel tweeted in agreement, writing that he hoped “BJP takes suitable action against these anti-nationals”.

This, however, isn’t the first time that Singh has taken a U-turn after facing backlash on social media.

On J&K ministers getting paid by the Army

In 2013, Singh flip-flopped after claiming that since Independence, MLAs and MPs in Jammu and Kashmir were being paid by the Indian Army to ensure stability in the turbulent region.

The controversial remark resulted in a political furore across party lines, with the J&K assembly summoning Singh to explain his statement. Then union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had also asked him to name the politicians in question.

The backlash prompted Singh to say a few days later that the money given by the army was for development and social work, and “if somebody says that any minister was given a bribe, it is totally wrong”.

The next month, Singh was speaking to reporters in Delhi when he tried to pass the buck for the initial comment to then US ambassador to India David Mulford. He said: “David Mulford said everybody in Kashmir gets money and I said the same thing. I have not revealed anything.”

Also read: I beg to disagree: Minister V.K. Singh counters Yeddyurappa’s ‘Modi wave’ comments

A dog’s death

In 2015, Singh was back in the eye of controversy when he seemingly equated the death of two Dalit children in Haryana to a stone being thrown at a dog.

“Here, it was a failure of the (local) administration. After that, it comes on the (central) government,” Singh told ANI at the time in his constituency Ghaziabad. “So in everything, (to say that) someone threw a stone at a dog, the government is responsible — it is not like that.”

Two days before Singh’s comments, nine-month-old Divya and two-and-a-half-year-old Vaibhav were burnt to death when over half a dozen Rajput men allegedly set fire to their house. Their mother, Rekha, also suffered severe injuries.

After facing backlash for the thoughtless comparison, including from Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Singh clarified that the analogy was unintentional and said that anyone trying to distort his statements should be booked under the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

“I respect Babasaheb (B.R. Ambedkar), I have followed his ideas and respect the Constitution of India,” Singh said. “This was two different conversations that were linked together. I am not like some other leaders who eat in a five-star hotel and then go to a Dalit family.”

#DISGUST at Pakistan Day

However, not all of Singh’s verbal missteps are so blatant.

In 2015, the retired general put out a series of cryptic tweets defining the words “disgust” and “duty” right after attending the Pakistan Day celebrations at the country’s high commission in New Delhi as India’s representative.

Senior journalists who cover strategic affairs and diplomacy had highlighted the general’s tweets, which were later taken down.

The implications of his tweets and their timing weren’t missed by anyone, but shortly after feeling the heat on social media, Singh tried to turn the matter on its head by claiming that the tweets were intended to express shock “at the hyperventilation of media” and those who questioned his credentials.

Singh denied that he was upset at being asked to attend the Pakistan Day function, later saying that he “knew my responsibilities and the duties that came with the post” and that “the country came first” for him.

He maintained on Twitter that he did not owe anyone an explanation, even as the opposition clamoured for his dismissal.

To join or not to join politics

In 2013, Singh was fairly certain that he was not going to join politics, as “the present political system is such that good people may not enter politics”, he said on India TV’s Aap Ki Adalat programme.

“That does not mean, all those who are in politics are bad,” he added.

Singh also stressed that he had no ambition to become a governor or ambassador: “Had I wanted to become a governor or an ambassador, I could have stayed silent on the Tatra truck scam.”

However, by March 2014, Singh had joined the BJP, saying he saw it as the only nationalist party worth supporting.


Whenever Singh gets called out for making an insensitive statement, he blames the messenger, i.e. the media.

In 2015, he told an ANI reporter that “Actually speaking, the operation (evacuation) in Yemen is less exciting than going to the Pakistani embassy.”

The comment drew sharp criticism from political parties, including the Congress, which said that the comments were “deplorable” and showed his “insensitivity”, India Today reported at the time.

Singh then pointed a finger at Times Now, the channel that had highlighted the remark.

“Friends what do you you (sic) expect from presstitutes,” he tweeted, making a personal attack on the channel’s editor-in-chief at the time, Arnab Goswami.

Needless to say, this created outrage among senior journalists:

This was also far from the first time Singh had used the insult to refer to the press:

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  1. BBC stood by their interview with Singh. It was a mistake to make him a minister in the first place…

  2. Much before he became a politician, Gen. V. K. Singh claimed that he was older by one year compared to his officially documented age when the issue was about his promotion. That apparently helped him in terms of seniority. A few years later when it was time for retirement, he said that he was actually one year younger than what the official documents showed! He was so adamant that he claimed in his interviews that IT WAS A QUESTION OF THE ARMED FORCES’ HONESTY.

    When he became a junior minister of foreign affairs, he went to attend some Muslim function, I don’t quite remember what it was. It was something related to Pakistan embassy, or some celebration of local Muslims, I really don’t remember it. But he went there wearing a green jacket, apparently to ingratiate himself to the gathering, green being the color of Islam. But next day when some journalists asked him about the function, he started cursing everyone and everything connected to it left right and center.

    Gen. (Retd.) V. K. Singh doesn’t take long to change his statements.

  3. Gen V K Singh’s initial statement, if reported correctly, was the right one. Like a true fauji, he should have stuck to it.

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