Remarks by Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar about how the British dealt with icons of Indian freedom struggle today touched off a controversy, forcing him to issue a clarification.
In a video of his comments in Chhindwara (Madhya Pradesh), which went viral, Javadekar is heard saying,"Subhas Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel, Pt Nehru, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru sabhi phaansi par chadhe (all were hanged)".
These comments gave an impression that, like Bhagat Singh and Rajguru, Nehru and Patel were also hanged by the British.
Clarifying his remarks in a series of tweets, Javadekar said,"I am amused with the news. I paid my respect to all the freedom fighters since 1857.
"I mentioned leaders like Gandhi, Nehru, Subhash Bose. It was a full stop.
"In the next sentence I recounted those who were hanged, jailed and suffered at the hands of the British.
"There was no confusion in the minds of those who listened.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Congress latched on to the faux pas to attack Javadekar for his "lack of knowledge of history" which, it said, emanates from his party BJP not participating in the freedom struggle.
"It is not Javadekar's fault. Since they and their leaders have not taken part in the freedom movement, they are going to talk like this. It (the remark) shows the level of his knowledge of history," state Congress President Arun Yadav said.