Taking exception to a controversial remark by senior UP bureaucrat A K Gupta that no child in Muzaffarnagar riot relief camps died of cold, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today asked officials to keep a check on their use of words and ensure nobody's feelings get hurt.
"Use of words by officials or partymen, whether it is about the government's drawbacks or the party's achievements, should be such that nobody's feelings get hurt," he told reporters here.
He was replying to a question on the remark of Principal Secretary (Home) Gupta that no one dies due to cold otherwise people would not have survived in Siberia, one of the world's coldest regions.
Yadav said, "Sometimes, during question-answer sessions, there could be a change in language used....I think officials should keep a control over what they speak." The Chief Minister said that this was especially so when it came to bureaucrats or party people talking to TV channels which record their byte and show controversial portions repeatedly.
Asked what action would be taken against the Principal Secretary for his irresponsible statement, Yadav said, "Ab ho gaya (It has happened)," while moving on to another question.
Yadav said the government, along with its associates, has tried to put an end to the Muzaffarnagar issue and people should return from the relief camps to their homes. "Many people have already returned to their homes," he said.
Condemning Gupta's comments, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar hit out at the UP government, saying, "When the administration becomes insensitive, this is what then comes out."
He said that instead of accepting the fault and making a correction, the authorities in Uttar Pradesh were blaming others and making most insensitive comments.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah criticised Gupta for his remark, saying that the bureaucrat should be sent out in the cold with lesser clothes.
"Can't die of the cold!!!! Send him out in a few less clothes and let's see if he isn't singing a different tune pretty damn quick," Omar wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.com.
Yadav also said that statements by officials or Samajwadi Party workers should not put the government or the party in the dock.
Gupta had yesterday said, "No person dies due to cold or else no one would have survived in Siberia, which is one of the coldest parts of the world."
The bureaucrat had said, "The cause of death could be because of food poisoning or pneumonia. Pneumonia happens due to cold, but cause of death is not cold." He had said, "We have a report that two, three or four persons died because of pneumonia, but nobody said they died due to cold...."
On the Muzaffarnagar issue, Yadav said the state government had taken necessary steps to provide relief to riot victims, but as Lok Sabha elections are near, attempts were being made to take political mileage by raking up the issue.
"Everyone wants the riot victims to return to their homes....Administration is talking to them. We are trying to persuade them (to return)," he said, adding that attempts were being made to defame the government.
After SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav's statement that "conspirators" were living in the relief camps in Muzaffarnagar, Gupta's remark has raked up a major controversy, with the state opposition parties demanding the SP government's resignation.
After Rahul Gandhi's sudden visit to the relief camps, Mulayam had stoked a controversy on Monday, saying, "There are no riot victims at all in the camps. There is not even one.
You can check.
"These are people who are conspirators. BJP and Congress have conspired. They have asked people to stay there at night and sit in dharnas. This is conspiracy of the people there.
"They (riot victims) have all gone. Congress and BJP are provoking them to rake up the issue till elections," he had said.
However, contradicting Mulayam's claim, a high-level official panel had yesterday said a total of 4,783 "displaced" people were still living in relief camps, where at least 34 children below 12 years had died.
UP BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak alleged that Mulayam knew his party was not capable of "removing the blot of failure" after the riots, and, therefore, he was making accusations against those living in the camps.
He said after Mulayam's statement, it was the Principal Secretary who had made an insensitive comment and demanded that the government resign immediately.
Congress leader Akhilesh Pratap Singh termed the statement as most irresponsible and insensitive.
Taking a dig a Gupta, he said, "If pneumonia does not happen due to cold, what is the reason. Tomorrow, they would say that a person was not killed after being hit by bullet, but due to excessive bleeding."