Indo-Asian News Service
Monday, December 01, 2008 1:32 PM (Thiruvananthapuram/Bangalore)
Smarting under the snub of the father of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the slain National Security Guard (NSG) commando, Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan on Monday reacted strongly, saying had it not been the house of the officer "not even a dog would have gone that way".
Achuthanandan did not mince words on being turned away from the Unnikrishnans' Bangalore house on Sunday night.
Speaking to a TV channel on Monday evening, the chief minister said: "Is there any rule that both the Karnataka chief minister and Kerala chief minister should go together to his home? If not for Sandeep's house, not even a dog would have gone there."
The Kerala chief minister and Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan were on Sunday night asked by K Unnikrishnan to leave his home.
The father of the slain NSG Major was apparently upset that Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddiyurappa visited him earlier to offer condolences, and the Kerala chief minister came four days later. The Unnikrishnans live in Bangalore, but belong to Kerala.
Sandeep Unnikrishnan was killed on Friday while battling terrorists inside the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai.
Former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy said that Sandeep had laid down his life for the country. "Please, my appeal to all is that his death should not be made into a controversy," said Chandy.
On Sunday night, an agitated father of Unnikrishnan refused to meet the Kerala political leaders and shut the door on them. With television cameras rolling, he shouted at the two political leaders and asked them to leave immediately.
After much persuasion, however, K Unnikrishnan met Achuthanandan, who was accompanied by Balakrishnan.
Achuthanandan and Balakrishnan arrived from Kerala in Bangalore on Sunday evening to offer condolences to Sandeep's parents K Unnikrishnanan and Dhanalakshmi.
The parents were apparently upset that the Kerala government had not cared about their tragedy till Sunday and they told the Karnataka and Kerala police that they had no intention to meet the two leaders.
After appeals by senior police officials of the two states, Dhanalakshmi persuaded her husband to allow the leaders to come to their house in Yelahanka, about 12 km from the city centre.
The ministers then met Sandeep's parents, who expressed their anguish at the insensitivity of the political leaders, a family source said.
The source added that the father told the ministers that they bothered to visit their Bangalore home only because of criticism from the media back home and not because they wanted to share the family's grief.
Unnikrishnan reportedly agreed to allow the two leaders into his home on the condition that they would not speak to the media about their meeting or their son.
Asked about the meeting, Achutanandan said: "We came to convey our condolences."
In Mumbai, Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare's bereaved family similarly snubbed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi when he announced a Rs 10 million cash relief to the families of policemen killed in the terrorist strike on Wednesday.
Modi called on the Karkares in Mumbai on Friday, but the family declined to accept any cash or assistance from Modi.