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Biplab Kumar Deb apologises for calling Punjabis and Haryanvis ‘less brainy’

In a series of tweets in Hindi, the Tripura CM said he had 'only articulated what some people thought about the two communities'

Umanand Jaiswal Guwahati Published 22.07.20, 01:45 AM
Biplab Kumar Deb

Biplab Kumar Deb File picture

Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb, known for making controversial statements, has now raised the hackles of his “Punjabi and Jat brothers.”

On Tuesday, he offered an unconditional apology for having said that Punjabis and Haryanvis were “less brainy”.


The remark on Sunday sparked a storm that saw him take to Twitter to explain why he said that. In a series of tweets in Hindi, the first-time chief minister said he had “only articulated what some people thought about the two communities.”

Participating in an event at Agartala Press Club on Sunday, Deb said while “Bengalis are known for their intelligence, Punjabis and Haryanvis are known for their strength but are less brainy”.

“When it comes to intelligence, it is said none can match the Bengalis. They are known for this trait. When we refer to somebody from Punjab or Haryana, we know them for their strength, not their intelligence. They are less brainy. You can win them over by love not strength,” Deb had said.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala labelled Deb’s observation “shameful and unfortunate” in a tweet in Hindi for “referring to Sikh brothers and the Jat community as people with kam dimag (less brainy)”. He even asked Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his deputy Dushyant Singh Chautala why they were silent and where are Narendra Modi and JP Nadda? and said the remark reflected the BJP’s mindsetwhile seeking action for the comment.

On Tuesday, Deb responded, apologising for his remark. “At an event at Agartala Press Club, I had expressed the soch (mindset) of some people about my Punjabi and Jat brothers. My intention was not to hurt any community. I am proud of both communities. I have myself lived for a long time among them. I have so many friends from these communities. If my remark has hurt the sentiment of any person, I personally apologise for it.”

In another tweet, he said he has always respected the Punjabi and Jat communities’ contribution to the freedom struggle and the development of India, “something which cannot be questioned”.

The state BJP said Deb’s comment had been misinterpreted; he was “only trying to highlight the diversity of the country and unique characteristics of some communities”.

This is not the first time Deb, who became chief minister in 2018, has landed in a controversy because of his comments. He had in the past claimed that Rabindranath Tagore had returned the Nobel Prize for literature, that Gautam Buddha walked on the sea to reach Japan and that civil engineers make better civil service officers. Other controversial statements or faux pas included He had even spoken of Internet and satellites in India in the time of Mahabharat, contended that Diana Hayden was not Miss World material and that Mughals had wanted to “bomb the culture” of Tripura.

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