New Delhi: Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday claimed the perception about “rising intolerance” in the country and was being manufactured by “certain sections that are against PM Narendra Modi” and hit out at the Congress for taking the issue up with President Pranab Mukherjee amid suggestions that the issue may rock the upcoming winter session of parliament.
“They are meeting the president to talk about rising intolerance. The Congress talking about intolerance is the joke of the century. It is like the devil quoting the scriptures,” Naidu told reporters here, claiming the Congress was not reconciled to being in the opposition and was “intolerant to the people’s mandate” that chose Modi as the prime minister.
The statement comes in the wake of criticism from a cross section, prominently global credit agency Moody’s, and expression of concern by top business leaders like Narayan Murthy and Kiran Majumdar Shaw as well as Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.
Asked about concerns business leaders expressed last week over the vitiated atmosphere, Naidu said: “That’s not the words and phraseology they used. Some of them are misleading; others are misread.” He, however, conceded that some voices were “well-meaning” and were “naturally concerned”. “Our objection is to all these incidents being linked to PM Modi.”
He also cited “atrocities” committed in Congress ruled-states and in states ruled by “Congress-friendly parties”.
“The Dadri incident happened in Uttar Pradesh where the Samajwadi Party is in power and friendly to Congress. M.M. Kalburgi’s killing happened in Karnataka that is Congress-ruled, rationalist Narendra Dabholkar was killed in Maharashtra in August 2013 when the Congress was in power in the state. These incidents are primarily being quoted to justify the sense of outrage,” he said.
Hitting out at writers, artistes and other intellectuals protesting the sudden rise in communal attacks in the country, Naidu asked where these “conscience-keepers” were when genocide was committed against the Sikhs after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984.
“Conscience keepers were silent during the Emergency, when judges were superseded, when fundamental rights were violated, when the constitution was amended to favour one individual and when thousands were sterilized forcibly and MPs were jailed,” he said.
“They had a genocide against Sikhs and their leader (then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi) justified it saying, ‘when a big banyan tree falls, the earth shakes’. Local Congress leaders led the riots against Sikhs all over India. Their silence was conspicuous during the mass exodus and genocide of Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir Valley. Now they are complaining of intolerance,” he said.
He said there was no outrage when “Prof. T.J. Joseph’s right palm was chopped off by the Popular Front of India in 2010, a friendly party of Congress in the state of Kerala, for allegedly insulting the Prophet”.
“Marxists goons entered a classroom in Kerala and hacked to death K.T. Jayakrishnan in front of his students in Kannur district. Marxist rebel T.P. Chandrasekharan was murdered in 2012. He had 51 grave cuts and slashes all over his body,” said Naidu. He also referred to the attack on Dalits in Haryana’s Mirchpur when 70-year-old Tara Chand and his 18-year-old disabled daughter were burnt to death in 2010 under the rule of then chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of Congress.
About BJP president Amit Shah’s statement in a poll rally in Bihar that if the party lost in the state, crackers will be burst in Pakistan, Naidu sought to dismiss the statement. “That is election campaign. The BJP president has clarified his statement,” he said.