Panna: In a callous act, Madhya Pradesh minister Kusum Mehdele, who has already courted controversy for her insensitive remarks on farmers' suicides, kicked a boy in full public view on Sunday when he asked her for one rupee.
The incident was captured on camera and went viral across media and social networks, leading to outrage from the public and demands for her sacking.
The incident occurred at a bus stand near the district headquarters in this Madhya Pradesh district where Mehdele, who is also the local legislator, had come to participate in a cleanliness drive to mark the sprawling central Indian state's foundation day.
According to witnesses, as Mehdele was going towards her car at the completion of the programme, the 10-year-old boy approached her and begged for one rupee, and even lowered his head towards her feet. An enraged minister lashed with her foot, hitting him on the head. The incident created a sensation but no one intervened, till some officials came and dragged the boy away.
The opposition Congress demanded Mehdele, who holds the horticulture and food processing and the animal husbandry portfolios, be sacked. State party spokesman K.K. Mishra said she had no right to remain in her position for "even one minute more".
A defensive Bharatiya Janata Party declined to comment at this juncture. Any comment can only be made after seeing the video, said state party media head Hitesh Bajpayee. Mehdele had recently sparked controversy, when at a function in Damoh district, she said that no farmer commits suicide at the death of a young son, then how could they do so at the failure of their crops.