In complete contrast to the call for compassion towards people suffering from disabilities from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a recently sworn-in minister in Yogi Adityanath’s cabinet in Uttar Pradesh has been caught on camera insulting a ‘divyang’ worker - questioning his ability to discharge his responsibility due to his condition.
This comes just days after Yogi Adityanath called for showing respect towards ‘divyangs’ (physically disabled persons).
In a shocking incident, UP’s Textile minister Satyadev Pachauri was caught on camera mocking a disabled man by questioning his ability to work due to his disability.
The video was recorded on a mobile phone camera in Lucknow’s Dilbag area where Pachauri had gone for a surprise inspection.
As shown in the clip, after noticing the specially-abled man, the minister started questioning the worker about his responsibilities and salary.
“What do you do here?” the minister asked. To this, he replied, “I am a safai karamchari”.
“At what time you report for duty? Are you here on a contract basis?” the minister questions.
“7 o’clock,” the employee answered.
The minister then scolded the staff who were accompanying him for the inspection. “You have hired ‘lule-langde’ (handicapped) persons. Just look at him, how can he discharge his responsibilities? How much you are paying him?”
“Rs 4,000 sir,” an employee replied to the minister.
When the matter gained media headlines, the Minister said that his remarks were misinterpreted.
“I just said that works should be distributed on basis of ability. I told them to hire two persons and shift him to other place. It is a pre-planned conspiracy. My remarks were misunderstood,” he said.
Senior BJP leader and state Cabinet minister Srikant Sharma too sought to downplay the controversy.
He said that the ministers should choose words very cautiously and that the motive was to ensure projects are completed within the stipulated time.
“He (Pachauri) is a senior minister. The Chief Minister has already asked the ministers to choose words very cautiously. The aim of his surprise inspection was to ensure works are done on time. But ministers should choose words very carefully. I can assure from now onwards, this will not be repeated,” he said.
It is worth mentioning here that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has on many occasions insisted on using the word 'divyang' instead of ‘viklang’ to show respect to physically disabled persons.