Opposition parties on Sunday launched a scathing attack on UP Minister Narad Rai over his remarks on deaths in Muzaffarnagar relief camps, saying the SP government was insensitive to the plight of the people and demanded an action against him.

Under fire, the minister, however, said deaths cannot be averted and people died at the camps of riot-hit victims despite all arrangements made by the state government.

“No deaths took place at relief camps in Muzaffarnagar due to mismanagement on part of the government as it had made adequate arrangements of food, lodging and medical treatment for the victims,” Mr. Rai told PTI in Ballia over telephone.

The minister had on Saturday said, “Deaths of children, adults and elderly are inevitable. It isn’t necessary that only those living in camps are dying. People die in palaces too. It isn’t that children in our homes don’t die. Deaths occur everywhere.”

Condemning the Sports and Youth Welfare minister’s comments, BJP said instead of making such insensitive remarks, Mr. Rai should have gone to the camps and ensured prompt relief for the victims. “It is insensitive on the part of the minister, who should have accepted the lapse on the part of the government and owned the responsibility,” party chief spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said.

“The SP government and its ministers are insensitive towards the plight of the people,” he said.

“This government and the party as a whole has become totally insensitive and inhumane towards the people,” senior Congress leader and MLA Akhilesh Pratap Singh said.

He said, “It is true that death is inevitable, but that does that mean they will stop health services. The government should apologise for the statement by its minister.”

NCP leader Tariq Anwar said, “People in the camps are suffering and such insensitive comments from a minister reflect their mindset. The Chief Minister and SP should take action against such ministers. This is an insult to all those living in the camps.”

Mr. Rai’s controversial comments came just days after the the Akhilesh Yadav government had accepted that 34 children living in relief camps have died in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.

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