Cancer is ‘divine justice’ – Health minister says Cancer is punishment from God for those who ‘sin’
The health minister of an Indian state has provoked anger after describing cancer as “divine justice”.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is the minister for the Assam state in north western India, said the “background” of some cancer sufferers led him to believe that disease was a punishment from God for “sin”.
The comments were made at an official function in Guwahati on 22 November. They have triggered an angry response from cancer sufferers and their relatives in the country that struggles with awareness about the condition.
Being quoted in the Times of India, Mr Sarma said: “God makes us suffer when we sin. Sometimes we come across young men getting inflicted with cancer or young men meeting with accidents.
“If you observe the background you will come to know that it’s divine justice. Nothing else. We have to suffer that divine justice.”
The minister later apologised to cancer patients over his comments in a statement. He posted it on Twitter, but claimed his speech was “quoted out of context”.
“I am pained at the unpleasant controversy created by people wanting to derive political mileage out of it,” he wrote.
“I tender my apology to all cancer patients and their families who may have been hurt by this.”
He added in a statement: “In their bid to trivialise and sensationalise, no one is willing to look at content of my entire speech …
“I lost my father, best friends and relatives to cancer. Everyone in Assam and outside knows my passion to work on containing cancer through the best possible treatment facilities including free chemotherapy.
“While I am not against science, I strongly believe there is strong merit in spirituality and teachings contained in Bhagavad Gita (Hindu scripture) as well as those of our ancestors.”
Photo Credit: India Today