No mistake, says Jharkhand minister facing flak for Kalam photo

Updated on Jul 22, 2015 11:42 PM IST
Jharkhand education minister Neera Yadav has dismissed charges that she thought former president was dead, saying she was merely paying respect to the famous scientist by marking a Tilak on his forehead, and not garlanding his portrait, usually reserved for the deceased.
A photograph of the Jharkhand education minister apparently paying floral tribute to former president APJ Abdul Kalam, who is still alive, has gone viral on social media and given rise to a range of controversies. (Photo posted on Twitter by Lubna Khan)
A photograph of the Jharkhand education minister apparently paying floral tribute to former president APJ Abdul Kalam, who is still alive, has gone viral on social media and given rise to a range of controversies. (Photo posted on Twitter by Lubna Khan)
Hindustan Times | By, Ranchi

A controversy erupted in Jharkhand on Wednesday after photos of the state education minister apparently paying floral tribute to former president APJ Abdul Kalam--who is still alive--went viral on social media, triggering demands of her resignation.

BJP minister Neera Yadav dismissed charges that she thought Kalam was dead, saying she was merely paying respect to the famous scientist by marking a Tilak on his forehead, and not garlanding his portrait, usually reserved for the deceased.

"Show me one photo or video in which I am garlanding the picture," Yadav said. She added, "I only did a tilak which is done to people who are alive."

But the Opposition was unimpressed as Congress leaders took to the streets and burnt effigies of Yadav, holding up images of the alleged tribute that had appeared in local newspapers.

"She should step down from her post. Even if she did not garland Kalam sahab's photo, why did she not ask the school administration to remove the garland," Congress leader Shamsher Alam said. The incident showed how ill-informed BJP ministers were, he added.

Yadav is a first time legislator, who won the Koderma assembly seat on a BJP ticket last year by defeating former social welfare minister, Annapurna Devi.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the second largest party in the assembly, said the BJP was risking the fate of the state's students by not terminating the education minister.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Saurav Roy is a senior correspondent in Jharkhand. He writes on education, industry, human rights and politics. He has extensively covered the human trafficking rackets of Jharkhand and has special interest in writing about modern day slavery.

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