He also said that the ‘absolutely mindless controversy’ was triggered by few political desperadoes.
Guwahati: A day after stirring a major controversy with his remark that cancer was a “divine justice”, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday offered an unconditional apology to all those who have been hurt.
He also said that the “absolutely mindless controversy” was triggered by few political desperadoes.
In a written statement, Sarma on Thursday said: “My speech on divine justice and Karmic deficiency is being quoted out of context. In their bid to trivialize and sensationalise, no one is looking at content of my whole speech and intent. It was said in the context of helping poor students of government schools and request to teachers not to neglect them. It was also a message to indicate district education officers not to harass teachers.”
“But the way a section of national media, local media and few in congress party is now playing the story, I am pained to say, will cause agony among cancer patients and their relatives. I lost my father, best friends and relatives to cancer,” he added.
He said that his philosophical discourse to help poor students was misused. However, he added that he still believe “divine justice will catch up with each and every one us for trying to cash in on someone else’s pain to gain political mileage and cheap publicity.”
Sarma, the Assam education minister, clarified, “While I am not against science, I strongly believe there is strong merit in spirituality and teachings contained in Bhagvad Gita as well as those of our ancestors. The purity of the philosophy and its essence help us in bringing sanity and balance in life.”
The Assam minister was criticised by several political leaders, including All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) leader and MP from Assam Maulana Badruddin, and Congress leader P Chidambaram.
The AIUDF leader said that the health minister made this remark to cover his failure to control the spread of cancer in the state. “He has given up, he can’t control,” he said.
The leader of opposition in the Assam assembly and Congress leader Debabratta Saikia, said: “It is unfortunate that the health minister has made such a remark on cancer patients hurting their feelings. As he has made the remark publicly, the minister should also apologise for it publicly.”
Sarma’s remark has hurt the cancer patients as a teacher, suffering from cancer, came on local news channel and regretted that education minister was spreading such things publicly.
Sarma, responding to journalists including Rajdeep Sardesai on Twitter, said repeatedly that he had been quoting the Bhagvad Gita.