Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satyapal Singh on Saturday reiterated his objections to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, saying he does not consider himself a “child of monkeys”, The Indian Express reported.

“I am a science student and I have completed my PhD in Chemistry,” PTI quoted the minister as saying. “Who all were the ones speaking against me? And, how many people stood by me? We should be compelled to think. We get scared of the press. If not today, tomorrow. If not tomorrow, then in 10 to 20 years, people will accept what I said. At least, I believe that my ancestors were not apes.”

Singh, who spoke at a book launch event, said the evidence of scientific temper was not to “condemn the point of another person” and urged people to “give it a thought”.

Singh, who had drawn criticism in January for questioning the theory of evolution and pushing for it to be removed from school and college curriculum, said he had made the remarks “not as a joke but after putting serious thought into it”. Back then, Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar had asked Singh to refrain from making such comments and had advised him not to “dilute science”.

However, on Saturday, Singh said the government was working to bring in a new education system. Books now make children see their fathers as useless, he claimed, adding that it was because they say our ancestors are descendants of apes.