People blaming their own destiny or karma for their misfortunes is a part of their everyday talk. However, you don’t say that when you are an elected representative and is in charge of the state’s health ministry.

Assam’s health minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday told a group of newly appointed teachers that people die from cancer because of their ‘sins’.

“It is a sin to shirk responsibilities. No one can go unpunished in God’s court if a member of his or her family does some injustice. Some people suffer from cancer, some die in accidents. This is all because of sins,” he said, reports Hindustan Times.

His statements came while he was referring to a group of teachers who had bunked classes. 

Sarma, who was previously with the Congress, is a trained lawyer and holds a PhD  in Philosophy. His statement triggered sharp reactions from various quarters and many targeted his state’s allegedly crumbling healthcare facilities. 

Here is how he was out-rightly slammed for his bizarre remarks:

Many opposition leaders were clearly outraged

And so were some people in the media

However, he defended his statement by saying it has been ‘misunderstood’. He even got into a war of words with many who slammed him on Twitter.

…including senior Congress leader P Chidambaram:

And with noted journalist Rajdeep Sardesai who called him a ‘pumpkin’:

The north-eastern state of Assam has been battling poor healthcare facilities and lack of adequate health infrastructure. In July 2016, a PTI report said that the state had more than 90,000 cancer cases between 2011-16.