Assam’s Health, Education and Finance Minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma may have just bitten more than he can chew when he said people suffer from life threatening diseases such as cancer due to the sins committed in the past. This and more outrageous statements of Hinduism’s Karmic ideology came while the minister was distributing appointment letters to 248 school teachers at a function in Guwahati on Wednesday, November 22.
He further added, “People cannot compensate for the sins that are committed against the unseen. Many often wonder why a person has been afflicted by cancer, why a young man has been affected by cancer. But when you see the background, it will be found that it is divine justice, nothing else.”
He also questioned why the same teachers who work hard while employed at low wages in private schools do not work with the same zeal once they get government jobs with higher salaries. “That divine justice will always be there. We have to suffer the divine justice. Nobody can escape that,” he said.
“Things done in the past life, in this life, things (my) mother did, (my) father did, may be that this person had not done, but then his father had done something wrong. That divine justice will always be there,” Sarma said. While state Congress leader Debabrata Saikia called it an unfortunate remark that has hurt feelings of cancer patients and sought a public apology, AIUDF leader Aminul Islam said that the Health Minister was merely covering up for his failure to control the spread of cancer in Assam.
Opposition leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram was quick to jump in on the debate and criticised Sarma on Twitter with a snide remark that the comment came because he switched parties.
'Cancer is divine justice for sins' says Assam Minister Sharma. That is what switching parties does to a person.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 22, 2017
Sarma, who had quit Congress to join the BJP in 2015 countered P Chidambaram with a tweet defending his statements and invoking karmic law.
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 https://t.co/P7CMBIRCYQ
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) November 22, 2017
The twitterati also condemned the remark.
How about dharma? How many cancer patients have you helped? How many lives have you saved health minister? Or do you just leave it to karma? #Stupidityabounds
— Krishnan Chidambaram (@KrishC9) November 23, 2017
@himantabiswa ji what was your profession in your past life??😂
— Abraham Eliazer (@nautankwadi) November 23, 2017
Why don't you just learn the difference between 'Belief' and 'Believe' and then talk about Philosophy. You are the Education minister right?
— The 6th Sense (@tweetShahin) November 23, 2017
Look who is talking about distortion. A party that edits, distorts , ridicules speeches is talking about distortion.😐
— chetan shah (@chetan_cbe) November 22, 2017
You should join a mandir as a pujari instead of being a corrupt minister if you are so deeply religious. Can you tell us what work you have done for your state ?
— AAP Ka Vikram (@vikrameffects) November 23, 2017