Senior CPI(M) leader and Kerala Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran has allegedly hurled racial abuse at senior infrastructure specialist Bernard Aritua of the World Bank, which is associated with a road development project aided by the global agency in Kerala.
Sudhakaran had called Aritua a "negro" — a derogatory term that was once used to describe people of African origin — in his comment on Monday while reviewing the progress of the World Bank-aided Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP) in Kasaragod district.
What Sudhakaran said
Sudhakaran, while reviewing the project, said: "World Bank means America. Kerala has existed even before America was born. Don't threaten us to withdraw the bank loan. KSTP is one of the corrupt projects in Kerala. Officials of the World Bank are responsible for the tardy progress of the project."
He also said: "Since I became the Public Works Minister, the representatives of World Bank had met me four times....Their team leader is an African- American."
Sudhakaran then went on to add: "That means he belongs to the race of Obama. He is a negro. Centuries back, they were ferried from Africa to America, and were engaged in bonded labour. When slavery ended, they were freed. This official is part of it."
What angered Sudhakaran?
Aritua is a senior infrastructure specialist in the World Bank. He is a Chartered Engineer with a PhD in Civil Engineering.
He leads the team of World Bank officials who have warned that they will withdraw the Rs 800-crore loan allotted to KSTP because at least six road-building project in Kerala have fallen well behind their schedule.
Earlier, after officials found that the project had not made enough progress, the World Bank had withdrawn about Rs 220 crore that it had offered for KSTP.