After his comment on cancer sparked an uproar and his attempt to defend it failed to make a mark, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma apologised in the evening. On Wednesday Sarma had sparked outrage after he commented that people suffered from cancer because of their sins and that it was divine justice. Biswa apologised unconditionally for hurting the feelings of the public today, it was revealed. His comment, made at a function organised for distribution of appointment letters to teachers in Guwahati yesterday, was panned by former FM and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, which in itself generated a lot of antagonism between both on Twitter. “Cancer is divine justice for sins’ says Assam Minister Sarma. That is what switching parties does to a person,” Chidambaram tweeted on Wednesday night.
Biswa today defended his words by saying, “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.”
He added, “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.”
At the end, he said, “At no point my statement was intended to cause any pain to cancer patients. However, if owing to the blatant distortions, it has caused any anxiety and problems to anyone, I hereby offer my unconditional apology for the pain.”
Biswa had hit back at Chidambaram by referring to his quitting the Congress in 1996 and even invoked Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s pet, saying “After all #Pidi likes privileged people”. He tweeted, “By the way sir when did you rejoin @INCIndia ? As far as I know you were in Tamil Maanila Congress. Privileged people can indulge in any activity right from Chit Fund to Inxmedia, can switch party. After all #Pidi likes privileged people.” He also said, “Sir, please do not distort. Simply I said that Hinduism believes in karmic law and human sufferings are linked to karmic deficiency of past life. Don’t you believe that too? Of course in your party I do not know whether Hindu philosophy can be discussed at all.”