Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Minister Bisahulal Singh has expressed regret over his "women from upper castes should be pulled out of their homes to work in the society" remark that has triggered a controversy.
The minister said confusion over his statement could be due to the mixed use of a local dialect and Hindi in his speech.
Objecting to his remark that was made during a function in Anuppur district on Wednesday, Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena on Friday staged a protest and set ablaze the minister's effigy near his official residence here.
Clarifying his stand on the remark, the minister issued a statement saying that there was no intention to hurt Rajputs or any other section of the society in his address at a function to honour women, and claimed that some of his sentences were misinterpreted.
"Those having the recording of my speech can agree with me if they listen to my speech carefully," he said.
Singh said that he generally talks to the people of his constituency in a mixed language, including Hindi and local dialect.
Similar language was used by him in this address as well, he said.
"Such an unpleasant situation may have arisen due to mixed language, not pure Hindi. Everyone knows that I represent the tribal class and I was talking to the women of this section about their upliftment," he said.
The minister said that if the skilled and educated women of the upper class don't come forward to work then whom the women of backward society will follow and draw inspiration from.
"There was no other intention and if my statement hurt the sentiments of Rajputs or any other section, I express regret," he added.
Addressing a function organised to felicitate women in Anuppur district, the minister had said, "Big people like (upper caste) Thakur, Thakar and some other big people keep their women confined to homes and don't let them go out", while "women (of lower strata of society) in our villages work in the field and also do household chores".
"Pull out the women of big people - Thakur from their homes. Will this not make them march ahead?" the tribal leader had said.
Krishna Bundela, Bhopal district president of Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena, had on Friday said the minister's objectionable remark has hurt the Rajput community. "Our MP organising secretary Shailendra Singh Jhala has directed us to blacken Singh's face whenever we see him," he said.
Nearly 300 Karni Sena activists reached Singh's residence, but they were stopped by the police some distance away from the minister's place, he said.