India's first ever 'happiness minister' is wanted on murder charges

Pradesh18 English/YouTubeIndian official Lal Singh Arya, who is wanted on murder charges.
  • Lal Singh Arya is in charge of Madhya Pradesh state’s Department of Happiness.
  • He is now a suspect in a 2009 murder of an opposition politician.
  • Police haven’t been able to find him.

India’s first and only “happiness minister” is wanted on murder charges.

Lal Singh Arya was named a suspect in the 2009 murder of an opposition politician, Makhanlal Jatav, the Times of India reported.

The 53-year-old has previously denied the charges, according to the BBC. Arya is the top official in the Department of Happiness, a ministry run by the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Indian media, including the Times of India and NDTV, routinely refer to Arya as the “happiness minister.”

An Indian court issued an arrest warrant for Arya last week, but police have yet to find him, the Times of India reported. They have searched three locations across central India: Bhopal, Gwalior, and his native town of Gohad.

The central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh created the department of happiness last year in a bid to “counsel people on how to be always happy,” the state’s chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, according to The Telegraph.

It hoped to achieve its goals through yoga, meditation, “moral science,” and other lessons, Shivraj Singh Chouhan told the BBC earlier this year.

Local police told the Agence-France Presse news agency they were “positive” they would find Arya by his scheduled court appearance next Tuesday.

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