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Manjhi leaves mobile phones to ‘wisdom’ of user

- Minister Bihari says sorry but sticks to stand, CM distances himself from non-veg barb

Patna, July 15: Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi today sought to shield his cabinet colleague Vinay Bihari, who had yesterday held mobile phones and non-vegetarian food responsible for the rising violence against women.

Manjhi, while terming Bihari’s bizarre logic as his “personal opinion”, refused to wholly disassociate from what the art, culture and youth affairs minister had stated. Bihari today apologised in case he had offended anyone, but stuck to his stand.

“Mobile phone is a device for communication. But it can be used in a wrong way too. It entirely depends on the wisdom of the user,” Manjhi said. “It is the duty of parents to see how their wards are using mobile phones.”

Bihari had yesterday told The Telegraph that he believed youths used mobile phones to “watch blue films”. He had then gone ahead and espoused that those “who eat more non-vegetarian food like chicken and fish are inclined towards carrying out molestation and rape”.

Manjhi refused to be drawn into the controversy fuelled by his colleague’s remarks on the issue of a person’s dietary choices. “Neither non-vegetarian nor vegetarian food is bad. It depends on an individual’s taste. There is no question of banishing either non-vegetarianism or vegetarianism,” he said.

“Poison kills people. At the same time poison is also used in preparing medicine. It depends on how one uses it,” the chief minister added when asked to elaborate his opinion on food. Manjhi himself is a non-vegetarian.

Bihari today said he was willing to apologise if his statements had hurt people’s sentiments. “I readily offer my apology if my remarks have hurt youths or anyone else. I had not stated anything with the intention to hurt someone,” Bihari said, but he refused to back off from his stand.

“Working among the people, I am aware of the youths — particularly students around 10 years of age — watching pornography and listening to indecent songs on smart phones in schools. There should be efforts to inculcate a sense of what kids should do at what age. Pistol is used in self-defence. But it is also used to kill someone,” Bihari said. “My remarks on mobile phone were made out of anxiety on their misuse by adolescents,” he added.

The minister said he had made the mobile phone off-limits for his two school-going sons and had advised the people in his constituency (Lauriya in West Champaran) to keep a watch on their children as well.

Bihari also stuck to his stand on non-vegetarian food. “I personally do not like non-vegetarian food and believe that it is not good for the overall health and morality of the people,” he said. When told that doctors and psychiatrists have found nothing to link dietary choices to rape, the minister said: “There are different ways of looking at things. What I have spoken is from the perspective of morality and spiritualism.”

Though several women legislators from the JDU and BJP had condemned Bihari’s statement yesterday, the BJP today preferred to keep mum.


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