Facing criticism over his remarks about deaths at riot relief camps in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh Sports and Youth Welfare Minister Narad Rai on Sunday said death cannot be averted and people died at the camp despite all arrangements by the government.
No death took place at relief camps in Muzaffarnagar due to mismanagement on part of the government as it had made adequate arrangements of fooding, lodging and treatment for the residents, the minister told PTI in Ballia over the phone.
Minister says death of children at relief camps is 'normal'. BOO him!
He said if deaths have occurred even after so much of arrangements, the government expresses sympathy, but death is eternal truth.
Rai said if deaths occur even after providing all facilities, they could not be averted and people should accept the fact. He said it was a different matter that people faced inconvenience even after being provided with so much facilities.
The minister said that the deaths in the camp and the riots should not be associated with Saifai Mahotsava. He alleged the media was focusing on the wrong side and it did not show that Olympic medallists were felicitated during the mahotsava.
He said that the media was only showing who all came to the cultural programme. It should highlight the shortcomings of the government, but at the same time it should also highlight the positive side, Rai said.
Meanwhile, in Lucknow, Opposition parties condemned the minister's remarks. "It is insensitive on the part of the minister, who should have accepted the lapse on the part of the government and owned the responsibility," BJP's chief spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said.
Instead of making such a remark, the minister should have gone to the camps and ensured relief for the victims, he said. "The SP government and its ministers are insensitive towards the plight of the people," Pathak alleged.
"This government and the party as a whole has become totally insensitive and inhumane towards the people," senior Congress leader and MLA Akhilesh Pratap Singh said.
Singh alleged that it is true that death is inevitable, but does that mean they will stop health services. He said the government should apologise for the statement by its minister.
Commenting on the deaths at riot relief camps in Muzaffarnagar, Narad Rai said on Saturday deaths occur everywhere and in palaces too.
"Deaths of children, adults and elderly are inevitable. It isn't necessary that only those living in camps are dying. People die in palaces too. It isn't that children in our homes don't die. Deaths occur everywhere," Rai had said.