Himanta Sarma Apologises For Cancer Remark, Says Quoted 'Out Of Context'

"I am pained at the unpleasant controversy created by people wanting to derive political mileage out of it. I tender my apology to all #cancer patients and their families who may have been hurt by this. I am also issuing this statement to clear & reiterate my stand," Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted this evening.

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Himanta Sarma Apologises For Cancer Remark, Says Quoted 'Out Of Context'

For nearly two days, Himanta Sarma has traded barbs with critics, defending this remarks on cancer


Guwahati:  After nearly two days of controversy over his comment linking karma and life-threatening diseases like cancer, Assam Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said he had been quoted out of context and offered an "unconditional apology" for any pain it might have caused.

"I am pained at the unpleasant controversy created by people wanting to derive political mileage out of it. I tender my apology to all #cancer patients and their families who may have been hurt by this. I am also issuing this statement to clear & reiterate my stand," the minister tweeted this evening.

An accompanying press release said he had lost his lost his father, friends and relatives to the disease.

"My speech on divine justice and karmic deficiency is being quoted out of context. In their bid to trivialise and sensationalise, no one is looking at the content of my whole speech and intent," his statement read. "It was said in the context of helping poor students of government schools and as request to teachers not to neglect them. It was also a message to indicate district education officers not to harass teachers".

For nearly two days, Mr Sarma has traded barbs with critics, defending the comments he made at a function in Guwahati on Tuesday. Among the critics were his former colleagues in the Congress -- P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal. His tweet to Mr Chidambaram took a dig not only at the former Union minister but also Rahul Gandhi's pet dog Pidi, recently introduced by the Congress vice-president on Twitter.
 
It was Mr Sarma's second response to Mr Chidambaram. Last night, the former union minister had said, "Cancer is divine justice for sins' says Assam Minister Sharma. That is what switching parties does to a person."

"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 (sic)," Mr Sarma had retorted.

Former Union Minister Kapil Sibal, too, had taken a dig at Mr Sarma. "Himanta Biswa Sarma says that cancer is divine justice for sins committed. That such a person is minister is divine injustice," his tweet read.

The 48-year-old Assam minister, who quit the Congress and joined the BJP ahead of the assembly elections in Assam, has been credited with the upturn in BJP fortunes in the north-east since.

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