New Delhi, Jun 27 (CNN-IBN): Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is facing severe criticism for his remark that sex education should be banned in schools. The Congress has said that such views by him show that he has a medieval mindset.
"If India's Health Minister has such views, then it shows that he has no morals. It is important to educate adolescents in such matters.If they are not educated, how will they know about such issues," asked Congress leader Manish Tewari.
He is also facing flak on Twitter. Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh tweeted, "Another regressive statement from health minister Harsh Vardhan - sex education should be banned? Which world he lives in? Latest from RSS lab. Harsh Vardhan wants to take India in Stone Age."
Teachers in the Delhi University, too, hit out at Harsh Vardhan saying he should 'check his mind'. One of the professors at DU said that such a view is not expected from an experienced MBBS.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, meanwhile, has distanced itself from Harsh Vardhan's comment saying these are his personal views.
Vardhan, who is in the US, sparked a row as he stated on his website that sex education in schools should be banned. In his 'vision document', Harsh Vardhan said that states must integrate value education with course content and put strong emphasis on exposing students to India's cultural relations. He added that Yoga education should be made compulsory.
"So-called 'sex education' to be banned. Value Education will be integrated with course content. Yoga should be made compulsory," says Vardhan in the document on his website.
The Health Minister had earlier too sparked a row when he said that fidelity was a better AIDS prevention measure than condoms. Public haelth activists have accused Harsh Vardhan of pushing the RSS agenda.
He, however, had rejected reports that he underplayed the role of condoms in fighting AIDS but insisted that official campaigns should focus on safe sex as a holistic concept which includes highlighting the role of "fidelity to single partners". His statement on informing people on the supremacy of fidelity as an AIDS prevention measure is not only a piece of cultural advice but also a scientific one, he had said.
"Any experienced NGO activist knows that condoms sometimes break while being used. That is why government campaigns in India, whether through the National Aids Control Organisation or the state governments, should focus on safe sex as a holistic concept which includes highlighting the role of fidelity to single partners," he had said. Vardhan, who was then in the US on an official tour, denied in a statement that he had any "moral problem" with condoms, as suggested by some media reports.
"Through misleading headlines, an impression is sought to be created that I have misgivings about the efficacy of condoms or that I have a moral problem with condoms. "For the past two decades, I have been stressing the need for safe sex using a combination of condoms and discipline which is in line with the Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom (ABC) line of UNAIDS that has yielded great success in Uganda and forms part of the anti-AIDS campaigns of several countries," he said.
"As the health minister, I find it justified to include this simple message in the communication strategy of the government's anti-AIDS programmes," he added. "Condoms promise safe sex, but the safest sex is through faithfulness to one's partner. Prevention is always better than cure," Vardhan said.