Khattar remarks drew flak from various quarters, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi terming them “despicable”.
Chandigarh: Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has courted controversy with his remarks that “some people are now saying that as Kashmir is open, brides will be brought from there”.
Mr Khattar was expressing concern over low sex ratio in Haryana at an event in Fatehabad on Friday when he made the remarks in an apparent reference to the scrapping of the special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution.
“Now some people say, Kashmir is open, they (brides) will be brought from there. But jokes apart, if (sex) ratio is improved, then there will be a right balance in society,” he said.
His remarks drew flak from various quarters, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi ter-ming them “despicable”.
After facing criticism, the chief minister tried to save face by saying “daughters are our pride”.
He also accused the media of “running a misleading and factless campaign” against him and shared on Twitter a full video of the event.
In another tweet, Mr Khattar said, “I have always had an honest dialogue with the public, daughters are our pride and daughters from all over the country are our daughters.”
“Earlier, the ratio was terrible. As against 1,000 boys, we just had 855 girls, and due to our relentless campaign, the number now has gone up to 933. From 855 it has gone up to 933. The youth and elderly could now have to stare at another worry. The girls may soon outnumber boys. Dhankar ji (minister O.P. Dhankar) has said that we used to look towards Bihar for potential brides. Now some people are saying that we can look towards Kashmir also. While they are joking, sex ratio is a serious issue,” Mr Khattar said.
It is worth mentioning that the contentious rem-ark was made at a state-level function of Maharishi Bhagirath Jayanti Samaroh in Fatehabad town to highlight the success of his “Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao” campaign in the state, claiming that the gender ration in Haryana had changed drastically in favour of girls.
Congress slams CM, BJP defends him
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday termed Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s “brides from Kashmir” remark as despicable, claiming that his comments show what years of RSS training does to the mind of a “weak, insecure and pathetic man”.
“Haryana CM, Khattar’s comment on Kashmiri women is despicable and shows what years of RSS training does to the mind of a weak, insecure and pathetic man. Women are not assets to be owned by men,” Mr Gandhi tweeted.
Mr Khattar hit back in a tweet that also had his speech attached along with subtitles in Hindi.
“Dear Rahul Gandhi ji, at least at your level, you shouldn’t react on distorted news. I'm attaching the video of what I actually said, and In what context - this will give you clarity of mind,” the Haryana chief minister said.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said Khattar’s remarks depict the mindset of the BJP.
“I am not against the marriage of Kashmiri girls in other states, but the manner in which Haryana CM has said is not right. Such a thing can be said by someone who does not have a daughter. A leader to say like this means the BJP has a bad mindset about girls, as they are not a commodity that you can take them away,” he said.
“If the Prime Minister works with a good mind, he should dismiss the chief minister immediately. BJP leaders keep giving controversial statements but if a chief minister gives such a statement, he should not be in the chair even for a moment. He should be removed immediately,” Mr Azad told reporters.
Congress chief Sushmita Dev also rebuked Khattar for his comments and said an FIR should be registered against him.
“An FIR should be filed against him for making such a remark on a sensitive issue like this and the NCW should initiate action against him,” she said.
The BJP backed the Haryana chief minister, saying that his comments have been taken out of context. But the Delhi Commission for Women demanded that an FIR should be registered against Mr Khattar.
Earlier also Mr Khattar has been known to court controversies by his utterances. After the abrogation of Article 350 one of the BJP legislator had said that party workers can now marry ‘fair kashmiri women’.