After severe criticism for a remark made by him where he blamed migrant labour for crimes in Delhi, Home Minister P Chidambaram has clarified that's not what he meant. "I am a migrant myself," he said in a statement this afternoon. (Read: Chidambaram's official statement)
He also said he wishes to withdraw his original statement: "Nevertheless, crime takes place because Delhi attracts a large number of migrants, There are a large number of unauthorised colonies, and these migrants who settle in unauthorised colonies, carry a kind of behaviour that is unacceptable in any modern city so crimes do take place," said Mr Chidambaram this morning.
In the last month, two young women have been gang-raped in moving cars in the capital. Mr Chidambaram prefaced his remarks on migrant labour by condemning those rapes, and by stating that the crime rate in Delhi has been sliding.
The reactions to his remarks on migrants were fast and furious - and included MPs from Delhi who belong to the Home Minister's party. "Chidambaram is not aware of facts," said Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit, whose mother, Sheila, is the Chief Minister of Delhi.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav said that by blaming migrants, Mr Chidambaram is passing the buck for the failures of his own ministry. (Watch
The Home Minister's clarification stressed, "I may point out that when using the word 'migrants', I did not refer to any State or region or language or race or religion. ...I am dismayed that some people have pounced upon the word 'migrant' and raised a controversy. ... I have nothing against migration or migrants, being a migrant myself... Nevertheless, I think the best way to put an end to any controversy would be to withdraw the whole of my answer to the question, and I do so. "