UP official's remarks draw BJP, Cong ire

UP official's remarks draw BJP, Cong ire

UP official's remarks draw BJP, Cong ire

A senior UP official has stoked a controversy by saying nobody dies of cold, remarks that have been attacked as "insensitive" and condemned by opposition parties in the context of deaths of children in Muzaffarnagar relief camps.

Taking exception to the comments by Principal Secretary (Home) A K Gupta, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today asked officials to keep a check on their use of words and ensure nobody's feelings get hurt.

"Use of words by officials or partymen, whether it is about the government's drawbacks or the party's achievements, should be such that nobody's feelings get hurt," he told reporters here.

He was replying to a question on remarks of Gupta that no one dies due to cold otherwise people would not have survived in Siberia, one of the world's coldest regions.

Condemning the bureaucrat's comments, opposition parties hit out at the Samajwadi Party government, with BJP saying, "When the administration becomes insensitive, this is what then comes out."

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said that instead of accepting their fault and making a correction, the authorities in Uttar Pradesh were blaming others and making most insensitive comments.

UP Congress leader Akhilesh Pratap Singh termed the statement as most irresponsible and insensitive.

Taking a dig a Gupta, he said, "If pneumonia does not happen due to cold, what is the reason. Tomorrow, they would say that a person was not killed after being hit by bullet, but due to excessive bleeding."

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also criticised Gupta for his remark, saying that the bureaucrat should be sent out in the cold with lesser clothes.

"Can't die of the cold!!!! Send him out in a few less clothes and let's see if he isn't singing a different tune pretty damn quick," Omar wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.com.

Replying to questions, the UP Chief Minister said, "Sometimes, during question-answer sessions, there could be a change in language used....I think officials should keep a control over what they speak."

The Chief Minister said that this was especially so when it came to bureaucrats or party people talking to TV channels which record their byte and show controversial portions repeatedly.

Asked what action would be taken against the Principal Secretary for his irresponsible statement, Yadav said, "Ab ho gaya (It has happened)," while moving on to another question.
Gupta had yesterday said, "No person dies due to cold or else no one would have survived in Siberia, which is one of the coldest parts of the world."

The bureaucrat had said, "The cause of death could be because of food poisoning or pneumonia. Pneumonia happens due to cold, but cause of death is not cold."

He had said, "We have a report that two, three or four persons died because of pneumonia, but nobody said they died due to cold..."

After SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav's statement that "conspirators" were living in the relief camps in Muzaffarnagar, Gupta's remark has fuelled a controversy, with BJP also demanding the SP government's resignation.

Following Rahul Gandhi's sudden visit to the relief camps, Mulayam had said on Monday, "There are no riot victims at all in the camps. There is not even one. You can check.

"These are people who are conspirators. BJP and Congress have conspired. They have asked people to stay there at night and sit in dharnas. This is conspiracy of the people there.

"They (riot victims) have all gone. Congress and BJP are provoking them to rake up the issue till elections," he had said.

However, contradicting Mulayam's claim, a high-level official panel had yesterday said a total of 4,783 "displaced" people were still living in relief camps, where at least 34 children below 12 years had died.