Members of the Vaishya community on Friday sought an apology from Uttar Pradesh minister Dinesh Khatik for allegedly insulting them and trying to divide Hindu society.
A controversy had erupted after Mr Khatik, the state Jal Shakti minister, on October 4 allegedly said he was not a baniya’s (the trading caste) son in a derogatory way.
Mr Khatik had gone to Parikshitgarh to meet the family members of Deepak Tyagi who was beheaded last week by a man as he suspected him of being in a relationship with his daughter.
As he was addressing people gathered there, someone interrupted Mr Khatik who lost his cool and responded, “Don’t be arrogant, I may have become an MLA but still belong to the village. I am neither from the city nor a baniya’s son (baniye ki aulad)”.
After a clip of the incident went viral on social media, several Vaishya community members, including BJP leaders, condemned Mr Khatik and sought his apology.
Members of the Vaishya Samaj Seva Samiti submitted a memorandum against Mr Khatik to the DM and staged protest, saying if the minister cannot respect the community, then he need not insult it.
State convener of BJP trade cell Vineet Kumar Agarwal Sharda too hit out at the minister, accusing him of attempting to divide Hindus.
The minister has insulted the Vaishya community and he is working to divide Hindus. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath should intervene in this matter, he said.
What the British could not do, the minister (Khatik) is doing, Sharda said and demanded an apology from the minister.
Meanwhile, Mr Khatik played down the controversy and said his statement was distorted by some people who want to malign his image.
Mr Khatik said he respected all communities and there was no question of hurting anyone’s sentiments.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)