Uttar Pradesh minister Narad Rai on Saturday stoked a potential controversy over deaths in relief camps for riot-hit victims in Muzaffarnagar, saying deaths occur everywhere and in palaces too.
Rai also went on to say that deaths of children, adults and elderly are inevitable in a comment that came when his government is under constant attack over the deaths and difficult conditions the people were living in the relief camps.
"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," Rai, who holds the Sports portfolio, said.
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The 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.
The admission of deaths was based on a report by a high-level official panel formed by the state government to probe the fatalities in relief camps.These deaths took place between September 7 and December 20 when winter chill was increasing. While 12 children died in the camps, the remaining 22 died in hospitals or nursing homes where they were taken for medical care.