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Chidambaram clarifies after his comment on migrants draws flak

Home Minister P Chidambaram today sought to blame migrants to Delhi for crimes like rape, a statement that came under attack from political leaders, following which he withdrew it.

delhi Updated: Dec 13, 2010 16:04 IST

Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday sought to blame migrants to Delhi for crimes like rape, a statement that came under attack from political leaders, following which he withdrew it.

"......nevertheless crime takes place because Delhi attracts a large number of migrants. There are a large number of unauthorised colonies. And these migrants who settle in city's north-west colonies carry a kind of behaviour which is unacceptable in any modern city. So crimes do take place," Chidambaram told reporters on the sidelines of a function.

Condemning the recent rape incidents in the capital, he said steps are being taken by setting up more police stations, recruiting more police men and putting more police vehicles on the roads to improve the law and situation here.

Chidambaram's remarks were criticised by BJP, RJD and SP leaders who said it was made to cover up his and Delhi Police failure.

Shortly after, the Home Minister issued a clarification saying he did not refer to any state or region or language or race or religion and was conscious that every one who came to work in Delhi was, in a sense, a migrant, including himself.

He said when he was asked a question about the recent incidents of rape in Delhi and the alleged failure of the Delhi Police, his reply had a "matter of fact reference to migration, unauthorised settlements and behaviour that is unacceptable".

Chidambaram said he was dismayed that some people have pounced upon the word "migrant" and have raised a controversy.

"The country faces many real issues and I have 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.

"I would request every one, including the Delhi Police, to focus on the real issues of crime, crime prevention and crime detection," he said.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad termed Chidambaram's statement as "very unfortunate" and said it was an attempt to "hide his own failure by putting the blame on the migrants".

"I disapprove the statement of Home Minister Chidambaram. In future, he should talk about his own failure and should not put blame on others," he said.

Condemning Chidambaram's statement, BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain said: "This is an irresponsible statement. Congress leaders are taking out their frustrations over the party's defeat in Bihar. Delhi Police works under the nose of the Home Minister. He should not make such statement to cover up his failures."

SP MP Akhilesh Yadav said Congress ministers cover up their failures or blame it on others. "As for law and order, responsibility is fully of the police and other authorities, they are getting their salary for this. But to put it on others is running away from responsibility," he said.

First Published: Dec 13, 2010 15:54 IST