Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir, annoyed by the absence of senior doctors from a function he was attending on Monday at a government hospital in Maharashtra said "these people" should join the Naxals if they don't believe in democracy, and the government will then shoot them down.
Ahir was speaking at the inauguration of a 24x7 store for generic medicines at a government-run hospital in eastern Maharashtra's Chandrapur, which he represents in the Lok Sabha.
"The mayor came, the deputy mayor came but what stopped the doctors from coming for the event?" an angry Ahir asked.
"What do the Naxals want? They don't want democracy... So these people (the absent doctors) don't want democracy, then they should join the Naxals. Why are you here? Then (once you join the Naxals) we will pump you with bullets, why you are dispensing pills here?" Ahir said, punning on the Marathi word 'goli' -- which means both a pill and a bullet.
Ahir wondered if it was appropriate for doctors to go on leave when a "democratically-elected" minister was on a visit.
Chandrapur is one of the four districts in Maharashtra which have been identified by the central government as affected by Left-Wing Extremism.
(With PTI inputs)