The opposition on Tuesday strongly condemned Maharashtra health minister Deepak Sawant's statement advocating psychological treatment for the LGBT community, urging him to direct his time and energy towards the development of the state rather than creating unnecessary controversies.
Terming the statement as unwarranted, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Majeed Memon said that Sawant's remarks had betrayed the ignorance of ministers on the matter.
"Such statements by ministers only show their ignorance. They are unnecessarily creating controversies when they should be directing their time and energy towards the issues which are pending and for the development of Maharashtra. This statement is absolutely unwarranted and uncalled for," Memon told ANI.
Congress leader Manish Tewari took a dig at Sawant and said that the latter needs psychiatric counseling for making such a statement.
"Someone who feels that the LGBT community requires psychological treatment, possibly himself requires psychiatric counseling," Tewari said.
On Monday, Sawant, while speaking in the Maharashtra assembly, said that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders were in need of psychological treatment and counseling.
According to an Indian Express report, responding to a query seeking to know the government's action plan to contain the transmission of HIV among the LGBT community, Sawant said, "there is a need for psychological treatment and counselling of the community. We would work with NGOs working in the sector,” Sawant said in his reply.
Earlier this year in January, Goa's sports and youth affairs minister Ramesh Tawadkar had said that the state government was contemplating to set up centres on the line of Alcoholic Anonymous for LGBT youth, where they will be trained and administered medicine in order to make them "normal".
The minister had, however, later did a U-turn, saying he was misunderstood and misquoted on the issue.
(With inputs from ANI)