A day after he faced massive backlash on social platforms over his regressive remarks on India’s LGBT community, Goa’s Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Ramesh Tawadkar backtracked on Tuesday, saying he was both “misunderstood” and “misquoted” on the issue.
"I was misunderstood and misquoted. I was not talking about the LGBT (youths) but about drug addicted and sexually abused youths," Tawadkar told PTI, even as local channels continued to air the footage where he assured medical treatment to make LGBT youths "normal".
"Youth policy speaks about drug addicted youths and sexually abused youths as a focused group. There are provisions in the central government sponsored Social Justice Scheme for such youths which can be implemented in Goa," the minister said, a day after he was widely criticised for his statements.
He said when journalists asked me about LGBTs, I told them "I am not expert on the issue."
The minister also refused to acknowledge LGBT as a focused group, though the youth policy document which is currently in public domain has mentioned them as one.
"We will make them normal. We will have a centre for them. Like Alcoholic Anonymous centres, we will have centres.
We will train them and give them medicines too," the minister had said.
"Like in the case of other target groups such as juvenile offenders, drug afflicted youth, marginalised or migrant youth, geographically disadvantaged youth, a detailed survey would be carried out among state LGBT community, so that their problems could be specifically addressed," he had added.
Predictably, Twitter was buzzing:
The Goa BJP govt's atrocious intent to make LGBT community " normal" is blasphemous, shameful & humiliates 25 million minorities. #Sec377— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) January 13, 2015
Stay awesome, Goa: "State seeks to 'cure' homosexuals http://t.co/7IBHFVTYFq"— Nicholas Dawes (@NicDawes) January 13, 2015
*sigh* he is for real. *sigh*... Goa government feels LGBT is abnormal, plans 'treatment centres' http://t.co/BnvuYHPTBg— Harini Calamur (@calamur) January 12, 2015
Dear Gays, go Goa for Kings Beer and to stop being Queens. RT Goa Minister Says Centres to be Set Up to 'Cure' LGBT http://t.co/K7DyA7rEX0— Sorabh Pant (@hankypanty) January 12, 2015
What the hell? Goa Govt plans centres to make LGBT ppl 'normal'!! Shocking and primitive thinking ..SHAMEFUL http://t.co/0zCcVlPuvL— मेहरान (@mehranzaidi) January 12, 2015