Ranchi : The Sikh community in Jharkhand has taken out processions in different parts of the state and have demanded the removal of Health Minister Bhanu Pratap Shahi over his reported remarks disparaging the community.
Shahi had reportedly made the remarks two days ago in reaction to former assembly speaker Inder Singh Namdhari's statement on "why Bhanu was offering voluntary retirement scheme as he should resign if he has the courage".
Last week Shahi had said that Chief Minister Madhu Koda should take voluntary retirement over lack of development in the state.
After Namdhari's statement, Shahi had reportedly threatened to "throw him (Namdhari) out of the state to Punjab" and talked in derogatory language about his religion.
On Thursday, Sikhs took out a procession to the governor's house demanding the minister be removed. They also burnt his effigy in Ranchi, Dhanbad, Bokaro and other parts of the state. The Sikh community leaders have given three days time to the government to dismiss Shahi failing which they have threatened to launch a stir.
"The minister's statement is derogatory of the Sikh community. He should apologise for the statement," said Shailendra Singh, secretary of Jharkhand Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee. The state's Punjabi Cultural Society also condemned the minister's statement and burnt his effigy in Ranchi Wednesday.
However, the health minister has denied making any insulting remark to hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community. "I have said nothing which may hurt the sentiment of any community," he maintained.
Condemning the minister's reported statement, former chief minister Arjun Munda said: "The health minister should be sacked. He has forgotten basic etiquettes."