UP minister calls disabled 'burden', triggers new row

In a public display of insensitivity, an Uttar Pradesh minister called physically disabled people a ‘burden on family and society’.

“The physically disabled people are huge burden on their families and society,” Social Welfare Minister Awadhesh Prasad said at a function in Fatehpur district on Wednesday evening.

The minister made the remarks after distributing pension to the needy people under the state government’s ambitious ‘Samajwadi Pension Scheme’.

His remarks left the audience and officials dumbstruck. Some senior officials immediately rushed to the dais and pointed out his ‘faux pas’. Prasad then tried to wriggle out of the situation, and said what he meant was that the physically disabled people should not be considered a burden and given all facilities.

However, the minister’s remarks evoked a sharp reaction from an organisation for people with disabilities.

“It reflects a complete lack of sensitivity on the part of the minister,” said Amarjeet Singh Jansevak, an office bearer of the organisation.

“Those who call the physically handicapped burden on society are themselves mentally handicapped,” he said. The minister’s remarks also invited criticism from the opposition parties.

“Prasad should be sacked immediately. How can a man who utters such things be allowed to continue as Social Welfare Minister,” said BJP leader Vijay Bahadur Pathak here.

There have been similar faux pas earlier by UP ministers. A few months back, a minister had said rapes could not be checked. 

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