Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma kicks up row, says cancer is divine justice for sins

The comments sparked sharp reactions in the political circles and among cancer patients in the state.

Published: 22nd November 2017 11:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd November 2017 09:47 AM   |  A+A-

Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. | PTI File Photo

By Express News Service

IMPHAL: IF you sin, you will suffer from cancer, said Assam’s Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Addressing a group of newly appointed school teachers, he said, “Many people suffer from cancer. Some people die in accidents. This is all because of sins which they committed.”

"God makes us suffer when we 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," Sarma said at a function organised for distribution of appointment letters to teachers here.

"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... all will get 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," he said.

Opposition parties slammed him for the comment. They alleged that he was trying to hide his failures.
The minister said it was a sin to skirt responsibility. He said a man could not get away in God’s court if a member of his family did some injustice. His words came amid reports that teachers in government schools often played truant.

The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) said it was unfortunate that the minister made such a statement. “He himself had introduced anti-tobacco laws. His comment has hurt every cancer patient,” the AIUDF said.

Party MLA Aminul Islam alleged Sarma had made the statement to hide his failures in the health care sector. Congress leader Debabrata Saikia also slammed the minister.

Reacting to the comments, Saikia today said, "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."

Some cancer patients said they were saddened by the health minister's remarks at a time when it is an established medical fact that there are scientific reasons and various other parameters responsible for the disease.

State-run Dr B Barooah Cancer Institute's Medical Superintendent Dr B B Borthakur sought to downplay Sarma's remarks.

"I don't think the minister made the remark on scientific basis but in a social context as I understand. 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)

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