Updated: February 14, 2021 7:16:55 am
In a video that is being widely shared on the social media, Haryana Agriculture Minister J P Dalal is purportedly heard responding to a media query on over 200 farmers’ deaths during the ongoing stir and commenting that they would have died even if they had stayed back home.
Hours after his remarks kicked up a storm, Dalal said his statement had been twisted on the social media and “wrong meaning” was attributed to it. “If anybody is hurt by it, I tender my apology,” he said, adding he would continue to work for farmers’ welfare. He reiterated that it is painful if anyone dies.
However, in his controversial remark made earlier while talking to mediapersons in Bhiwani Saturday, Dalal said: “Yeh ghar mein hote, toh bhi marte. Yahan nahi mar rahe kya? Meri baat sun lo, lakh do lakh mein se do sau che maheene main nahi marte kya? Koi heart attack ho ke mar gaya, koi bukhar ho ke mar gaya (Had they been at their homes, they would have died there also. Listen to me, out of one to two lakh, don’t 200 people die in six months? Someone is dying of a heart attack and someone after falling ill).”
He had added: “Mujhe ek cheez bata do ke hindustan ki average age itni hai, aur saal mein kitne marte hain. Naagrik ka jahan tak mudda hai, mare hue ke prati meri hardik samvedna hai, 135 crore ke prati samvedna hai, bharat ek hai, bharat ke har nagrik ko haq ek hai (Tell me one thing: what is the average age in India and how many die in a single year? As far any citizen is concerned, my heartfelt sympathy is with those who have died. My sympathy is there with 135 crore people. India is one, and all its citizens have equal rights).”
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Replying to media queries regarding the manner in which the farmers lost their lives during the agitation on Delhi’s borders, Dalal added in the video, “Yeh accident se nahi mare na, swecha se mare hain…mare hue ke prati meri poori poori hardik samvedna hai (They did not die by accident. They died by their own will. My heartfelt sympathy is with those who have died).”
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala attacked Dalal over his remarks and said such a statement can only be made by an “insensitive” person.
“Only an insensitive and uncultured person can use such words for annadata who are struggling for their demands. But, yet, they do not feel ashamed. Haryana’s Agriculture Minister JP Dalal, who had earlier called farmers Pakistan and China supporters, should be dismissed from state’s Council of Ministers”.
Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja too slammed Dalal for his statement. “This reaction and laughter of the Haryana agriculture minister on the sacrifice of our farmer brothers are very sad,” she said in a tweet. Punjab Congress leader Raj Kumar Verka also demanded Dalal’s ouster from the Haryana Cabinet over his “insensitive” remarks.
With PTI Inputs
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