New Delhi: Union minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir on Monday reportedly told doctors who did not attend an inauguration function in Maharashtra that they “should join Naxals”, adding “we will then shoot you with bullets”. Ahir’s controversial remark comes close on the heels on another Union minister Anantkumar Hegde saying that he wants people to identify themselves by caste or religion and not secularism, and that the government will change the constitution.
Ahir was speaking at the launch of a 24×7 chemist shop at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandrapur, which he represents in parliament, NDTV reported. “The mayor came, the deputy mayor came but what stopped the doctors from coming for the event?” the channel quoted him as saying. The event was organised to celebrate ‘Good Governance Day’, which marks former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birthday.
District civil surgeon Dr Uday Nawade and dean of the medical college Dr S.S. More did not attend the event, Indian Express reported. “What do the Naxals want? They don’t want democracy. I handle the home ministry, so I know it. These people (referring to the senior doctors) don’t want democracy. So they should join Naxals. Why do you stay here? Go there, then we will shoot you with bullets. Why do you give tablets here? How justified is it to remain absent when I am coming to the hospital,” Ahir reportedly said in Marathi.
Ahir also asked whether it was appropriate for doctors to go on leave while a “democratically-elected” minister was visiting.
Ahir reportedly told the newspaper that he would “tweet in a while” when asked for a response. However, his Twitter timeline only includes images of him at the inauguration and has no mention of his comments.
“I proceeded on leave on December 23 for personal reasons, and will join on December 26. I received the message about this programme late on Sunday evening. I don’t have anything else to say,” Nawade told Indian Express.
Chandrapur is one of the four Maharashtra districts which the Centre has identified as hit by left-wing extremism.