Assam Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday sparked a controversy after he said that accidents and life-threatening diseases were a result of sins committed in the past, calling it “divine justice”.
Talking at a function organised for distribution of appointment letters to teachers in Guwahati, Sarma said, “God makes us suffer when we commit a sin. Sometimes, we come across young men getting inflicted with cancer or young men meeting with accidents. If you observe the background, you will come to know that it’s divine justice. Nothing else. We have to suffer that divine justice.”
The former Congress member said it was mentioned in the Gita and the Bible about the outcome of one’s actions. “In this lifetime or in our previous life, or perhaps my father or mother… perhaps that young man did not do but his father has done something wrong. It is mentioned even in Gita, Bible about the outcome of one’s actions. No point in being sad… everyone will face the outcome of this life’s actions in this life only. That divine justice always will be there. Nobody can escape the divine justice that will happen.”
Sarma’s remarks created a furore and many from the political circle slammed him for his insensitivity. “‘Cancer is divine justice for sins’ says Assam Minister Sharma. That is what switching parties does to a person,” said Congress leader P Chidambaram.
Responding to Chidambaram, Sarma on Twitter justified his comments linking them with the karmic law of Hinduism. “Sir, please do not distort. Simply I said that Hinduism believe in karmic law and human sufferings are linked to a 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,” he said.
Sir, please do not distort. Simply I said that Hinduism believe in karmic law and human sufferings are linked to karmic deficiency of past life.Don’t you belief that too?Of course in your party I do not know whether Hindu philosophy can be discussed at all https://t.co/P7CMBIRCYQ
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) November 22, 2017
Congress leader Debabratta Saikia hit out at Sarma, asking him to tender an apology. “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,” he said.
AIUDF leader Aminul Islam said that the remark was an attempt to cover the government’s failure to control the spread of cancer in the state. “He has given up, he can’t control,” he said.
State-run Dr B Barooah Cancer Institute’s Medical Superintendent Dr B B Borthakur, however, sought to downplay Sarma’s remarks. “I don’t think the minister made the remark on a scientific basis but in a social context. I don’t think it is a matter to be made into a controversy. It is not a matter to be given so much importance,” he told PTI.
(With PTI inputs)