Demands for apology and his removal from the ministry poured in from different quarters, some of which saw a parallel in the puppy remark of Narendra Modi a few years ago, but Singh claimed his remarks were misunderstood.
Responding to a question about the horrific incident in Haryana, Singh had said: "See, the thing is, never associate local incidents with the central government. There is an inquiry going on. There was a dispute between families. What was the failure of the administration? If there was, then the government can be linked. For everything... like if somebody throws a stone at a dog, then the government is responsible... it is not like that."
"Comparing the death of two little children who were burnt alive to possibly the stoning of a dog... what could be more preposterous and abominable than that? This reflects the mindset of the government," Manish Tewari of the Congress said.
Tewari recalled the statement of Modi, now Prime Minister, a few years ago "in an interview to Reuters when he said that if a pup gets crushed under the wheels of a car, that needs to be empathised too. That remark was in the context of the Gujarat pogrom," Tewari said.
Although Singh immediately said he did not intend to draw a parallel and the media had twisted his observation out of context, the charge seemed to have stuck on him because of his record of frequently making intemperate statements.
Singh, who has independent charge as minister for statistics and programme implementation and is also the junior foreign minister, had called some journalists "presstitutes" and described some army personnel as "dacoits and looters". The former army chief was also engaged in an unseemly row by dragging the government to court on the question of his age.
Today, he attempted to save himself from the "dog row" by recalling how soldiers sacrificed their lives for the nation. "My statement wasn't intended to draw an analogy. My men & I put our lives on the line for the nation irrespective of caste, creed and religion," he tweeted.
Perhaps in an indication of the jitters in the NDA government in the middle of the elections in Bihar where the weaker sections play a key role, Singh later issued a statement describing as "dastardly and cowardly" the killing of the little children.
He added: "From all indications, the horrific incident was triggered off by a feud between two families. Our society is made up of many individuals, and the act of every sick mind cannot be put at the door of the government, regardless of which party is in power.
"It does not matter who or what the political affiliations are, the perpetrators have to be dealt with without mercy. I also appeal to the media not to deliberately twist my words out of context. What I have said and continue to say is very clear, and there is no ambiguity about it."
But the Opposition parties demanded stern action against the "habitual offender". "It is condemnable, it is shocking, it is inhumane, to say the least. Singh has insulted not only the entire Dalit community of this country but all Indians. It reflects the mindset of the Modi government which insults Dalits, which insults the minorities and looks down upon the people who are poor and downtrodden," Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala said.
Surjewala asked Prime Minister Modi to sack Singh and tender an apology on behalf of the minister. Surjewala said a criminal case should be registered against the minister under the Prevention of Atrocities on Schedule Castes Act.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said: "If Prime Minister Modi really wants to celebrate Dussehra, which is a festival of triumph of goodness over evil, he should purge his ministry of all evils. Gen. Singh should be sacked by the evening."
Congress leader Anand Sharma also said an apology wouldn't suffice and Singh's continuance in the ministry was untenable now.
CPM politburo member Brinda Karat described Singh's remarks as "arrogance of casteism" and demanded registration of a criminal case against him. "His statement is a clear casteist statement and it comes under the provisions of the prevention of crime against SC-ST Act. Therefore, this gentleman has to be booked."
Karat also alleged Singh was trying to influence the investigation by calling it the fallout of a personal dispute.
What disease does V K Singh have?
Foot in the mouth? or
Motor Mouth? or