The intolerance debate in India was termed as “the unnecessary creation of very imaginative minds who are being paid with a lot of money” by Union Minister V K Singh, who called the entire hoopla a political move created to affect the Bihar assembly elections.
Singh was attending the two-day Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Los Angeles in place of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who had to return mid-way from Dubai due to the Paris terror attacks.
Speaking on the intolerance issue, the former army chief, Singh said that he didn’t want to comment on “how the Indian media works”. Citing “all the funny things that are being talked about intolerance”, he brought to notice the fact that just “when the Delhi (Assembly) elections took place, suddenly we found a spate of articles and a lot of hysteria that was created that churches are being attacked, the Christian community is being isolated etc.”
“A small incidence of theft in a church was depicted as an attack on church. Why? Because there was somebody who was trying to garner votes; and the media was playing the ball. Whether it was being paid or not paid, I do not know. That’s a decision or opinion that you have to make,” he added.
“I am just giving you the facts. The day that election was over all the hoopla was gone,” he alleged.
The media plays a huge role in directing the angle that a nation takes in viewing certain events. Singh drew comparison between this issue and that of the intolerance debate fizzling out after the Bihar polls.
“Same is (the case with) this intolerance debate. The moment Bihar elections are over, everything is gone! All these people who were talking of intolerance and I would like you to put it down in your papers about what happened when a Gandhian (Anna Hazare) in his 70’s protesting against corruption was picked up in the middle of a night and put into Tihar (Jail). Which was the government in place at that time?” he asked.
“Have these people got any moral authority to even speak on anything? So let’s not unnecessarily confuse ourselves with what is actually happening and the lesson is for the Indian media,” said Singh.
Singh, in his keynote address to the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Los Angeles, said that the Modi Government had made “inclusiveness” its hallmark.
“Things in India have changed. Inclusiveness has become the hall mark of the government policies. The present climate that is being created in India is investor friendly, to ensure people feel confident in investing and to ensure that you reap the benefit of investing in India,” Singh said.
While the rising protests on the grounds of “growing intolerance” in India, along with the number of awards returned by various intelligentsia members speak about the fear of the Indian democracy “coming apart” in the present atmosphere, the BJP-led government has dismissed the issue as “politically” motivated and a “manufactured rebellion”.
(Inputs from PTI, Indian Express)