Opposition slams his statement, saying it was meant to cover his and police failure

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram came under attack on Monday from political leaders for referring to “migrants” while answering a question from a journalist on the increasing crimes against women here. He, however, retracted his statement to end the controversy.

“I made a matter-of-fact reference to migration, unauthorised settlements and behaviour that is unacceptable. I may point out that when using the word ‘migrants,' I did not refer to any State or region or language or race or religion. I am acutely conscious that every one who comes to work in Delhi is, in a sense, a migrant. I am a migrant myself,” he said in a clarification.

“I am dismayed that some people have pounced upon the word ‘migrant' and raised a controversy. The country faces many real issues, and I have no desire to say or do anything that will distract from the real issues. I have nothing against migration or migrants, being a migrant myself. I was pointing to ‘behaviour that is unacceptable.' Nevertheless, I think the best way to put an end to any controversy would be to withdraw the whole of my answer to the question, and I do so.”

Earlier, the BJP, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) said Mr. Chidambaram's remarks were made to cover up his and the Delhi Police's failure to maintain law and order. RJD chief Lalu Prasad termed the remarks “very unfortunate” and an attempt to “hide his own failure by putting the blame on the migrants.”

BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain described it as an “irresponsible statement,” while SP MP Akhilesh Yadav said Congress Ministers covered up their failures or blamed them on others.

Mr. Chidambaram said there were two types of crime — one opportunistic and the other pre-meditated — and the police could stop the pre-meditated crime, but in the case of opportunistic crime, the police could only detect it, nab the perpetrator and punish him through trial.

Keywords: Chidambarammigrants

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