Uttar Pradesh Minister Narad Rai Saturday stoked a potential controversy over deaths in relief camps for riot-hit victims in Muzaffarnagar, saying deaths occur everywhere, including in palaces.
Rai went on to say that deaths of children, adults and elderly are inevitable. His comments came at a time when his government is under attack over the deaths and the difficult conditions people living in relief camps are facing. “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, who holds the sports portfolio, said.
The controversial comments came just days after the Akhilesh Yadav government accepted that 34 children living in relief camps have died in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli. The admission of deaths was based on a report by a high-level official panel formed by the state government to probe the fatalities in relief camps. The deaths took place between September 7 and December 20 when winter chill was increasing. While 12 children died in the camps, 22 died in hospitals or nursing homes.