- Alphons Kannanthanam posted selfie with coffin of CRPF soldier
- He took pic while hundreds were paying their respects to the late soldier
- People on social media accused him of indulging in "self-promotion"
Union Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam, who was slammed on social media over a photograph near the coffin of a CRPF soldier who laid down his life in the Pulwama terror attack, denied that it was a selfie. Many social media users had accused him of indulging in "blatant self-promotion" in the back of a tragic incident.
Mr Kannanthanam wrote to the Kerala police chief on Sunday, complaining that "some miscreants had spread false news".
"Some person had taken my photographs standing near the coffin. My media secretary had put the same on my Facebook. Alleging that the photograph was a selfie taken by me, some miscreants had spread false news against me in the social media. The act of those miscreants reduced my reputation in the public, which is an offence punishable under the provisions of Indian Penal Code," he wrote.
Mr Kannanthanam posed for the photograph while hundreds were paying their respects to the late soldier, Vasantha Kumar VV, after the body was brought back to his home at Lakkidi in Kerala's Wayanad district on Saturday. "The funeral of CRPF jawan Vasantha Kumar is being held at his home. It is because of people like him that you and I can live peacefully," read the caption accompanying the photograph.
The Union Minister's words, however, did little to blunt social media anger over his "insensivity" on such a tragic occasion. "Sir, you should have used a better camera for this selfie, can't see the shame on your face," said a netizen. Another claimed that Mr Kannanthanam's act was testament to his narcissism. A third reminded the BJP politician that this "was not the time for drama".
More than 40 CRPF personnel died after a suicide bomber of the Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed rammed a car filled with explosives into a 78-vehicle convoy passing through the Jammu-Srinagar highway on Thursday. The resulting explosion ripped apart a bus and hit another, dispersing metal debris and human remains over a 100-metre radius on the national highway.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a gathering in Bihar on Sunday that he shares the nation's outrage over the Pulwama attack. "To the people who have gathered here, I would like to say that the fire raging in your bosoms is in my heart too," he said. Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the CRPF have not minced words in expressing their desire to avenge the deaths by taking "appropriate action" against Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the nation continued to mourn the soldiers as their bodies were transported to their hometowns across its expanse. In Kerala, the cast of the Mohanlal-starrer "Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham" paid tribute to them by observing a few minutes of silence on the sets of the film. Later, the film star shared photographs of the occasion on his Twitter page.
Mr Vasantha Kumar, who belonged to the Mullu Kuruma tribe, is survived by his wife, mother and two children.
(With inputs from PTI)
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