Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir on Monday was so inflamed with the absence of a civil surgeon at an inauguration ceremony in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district on Christmas Day that he suggested that absentee doctors should turn into Naxalites so they can be shot dead since they clearly didn’t have any regard for democratically elected leaders.Ahir made the statement while inaugurating the Amrut Dindayal medical store on the birthday of former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee. “I am a minister chosen by democracy. Despite knowing that I am coming to Chandrapur, what’s the point of going on leave?If there is no faith in democracy, join Naxalism. We will pump bullets into them.” Chandrapur is a Naxal-affected area in western Maharashtra.When DNA contacted the minister, he justified his comment saying that the doctor was the organiser of the event and should have been present. “Have you ever heard of the organiser being absent at his own function? So I said what I did. What’s so controversial about it?” he said, refusing to withdraw his remark.Ahir said government medical officers should behave decorously with elected representatives. “They cannot get away with everything. If they are government servants, they have to believe in democracy and work accordingly,” he said.The Opposition condemned Ahir’s statement. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the BJP minister spoke of democracy with a dictatorial mindset. “The minister should be booked under section 506 of IPC. Immediate action should be taken against him,” Malik said. The section pertains to to criminal intimidation.Congress MLA Vijay Wadettiwar said the remark from a union minister was “very unfortunate”. “We strongly condemn it. If any doctor is going on leave on a public holiday, what is the big deal? Doctors are entitled to a family life. The minister should withdraw his statement and apologise to the medical fraternity which tirelessly works for the people.”Dr Jayesh Lele, president of the Indian Medical Association, stated that ministers can make any statement and get away.
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