Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Tuesday said his minister's comment on homosexuals was out of ignorance and that there is no policy to cure LGBT youths.
His response comes in the wake of Goa sports and youth affairs minister Ramesh Tawadkar's statement on Monday that homosexuals will be made "normal' with training and medicines.
Tawadkar had said that the state government has a new policy to treat LGBT youths to bring them back to normal, to which Parsekar replied saying lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) don't have any disease and homosexuality is "natural gift," according to NDTV.
Tawadkar's comment to open centres to train homosexuals and give them medicines to make them "normal" has upset LGBT rights activists. Tawadkar made the comment on lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) while explaining the state's youth policy in capital Panaji on Monday.
"We will make them (LGBT youth) 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," PTI quoted him as saying.
"As in the case of other target groups such as juvenile offenders, drug afflicted youth, marginalized or migrant youth, geographically disadvantaged youth, a detailed survey would be carried out of the LGBT community so that their problems could be specifically addressed," said Tawadkar.
Indian actor-director Nakshatra Bagwe, known for his contribution to LGBT community, told IBTimes India the LGBT youths are not India's problem today, instead, ignorant politicians like Tawadkar who impose their uneducated thoughts on public are today's "biggest problem".
Demanding Tawadkar's resignation, Bagwe said that if the Goa government proceeds with its policy, it will affect the state's tourism business.
"Tawadkar should resign for his ignorance. If they implement it then Goa tourism will surely see a downfall, they have no idea how many queer tourists visit Goa every year," he said.
LGBT rights activist Anand Grover criticised the minister.
"It is unfortunate that a Minister is making such a reprehensible comment. This Government is used to making outlandish comments. Barack Obama is coming to India; they should ask him whether gay people are 'abnormal'," Daily News & Analysis quoted Grover as saying.
People on micro-blogging website Twitter also criticised the minister.
"Instead, its time someone gave Ramesh Tawadkar the medicines to make him normal. He's down with homophobia," Abhirup Bhunia tweeted.
"Goa to "normalize" LGBT youth by administering medicines!! Either we have made serious progress in medicines or attained great deparivity," Sachin Panda tweeted.
Congress Party spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi also condemned the Goa government for the minister's remark.
So the BJP government in Goa thinks LGBT community is abnormal. Contemplating to train and administer medicines to make them normal. Sick.— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) January 12, 2015
Tawadkar Withdraws Comment
A day after facing criticism widely for his statement, Tawadkar retracted from his remark claiming he has been misunderstood and misquoted.
"I was misunderstood and misquoted. I was not talking about the LGBT (youths) but about drug addicted and sexually abused youths," Tawadkar told PTI.
"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," he added.