Two days after a BJP leader and former Gujarat minister accused ‘Milkman’ Dr V. Kurien of having funded Christian missionaries, the institution which had ushered in India’s ‘white revolution’ has that the departed soul had done nothing like that.

Former MP and former minister Dileep Sanghani had on Saturday kicked off a controversy by saying that Dr Verghese Kurien had siphoned off money from Gujarat’s milk co-operatives to fund Christian missionaries working in the south Gujarat tribal district of Dangs.

Speaking to media on Dr Kurien’s 97th birth anniversary in Anand on Monday morning, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) managing director Dr R S Sodhi said that his religion was that of each farmer of the country.

GCMMF is the institution, better known by the brand name Amul, which Dr Kurien had helmed for decades during which India became a milk sufficient nation and earned him the sobriquet ‘Milkman to the Nation’.

Quoting excerpts from Dr Kurien’s memoirs, Dr Sodhi reminded all that the ‘Milkman’ had wished to be cremated in Anand, next to the spot Tribhuvandas Patel, who was his life time partner in the ‘white revolution’, was cremated. Dr Kurien’s daughter, Nirmala who was also present to celebrate National Milk Day on his birth anniversary, said that her father was an atheist and respected all faiths.

Meanwhile, Kurien’s daughter on Monday rubbished Sanghani’s claim that Kurien diverted dairy cooperative Amul’s profit to fund religious conversions in the country.

“We should ignore such statements and focus on work done by Verghese Kurien in building institutions that ushered India’s White Revolution,” Nirmala Kurien said.

“My father was an atheist and (despite being a Christian) was cremated as per his wishes. So was my mother after her death,” Nirmala said at an event at the NDDB to mark Dr Kurien’s birth anniversary.

“We should also focus on things like the change he made in the life of cattle rearing farmers,” she said.

Born on November 26, 1921, Kurien had died on September 9, 2012.