President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday disapproved the intellectuals’ decision to return their national honours in protest against the growing religious intolerance in India.
Speaking at an event to mark the National Press Day in Delhi, President Mukherjee said, “Prestigious awards … are a public recognition of talent, merit and hard work by peers and leaders in profession. Such awards should be cherished and valued by those who receive them.”
He added, “Sensitive minds sometimes gets disturbed by some incidents in society, but the expression of concern over such events should be balanced.”
He asked the protesting awardees to ensure that emotions should not overrun reason. “Disagreements should be expressed through discussion and debate. We must as proud Indians have confidence in the idea of India and values and principles enshrined in our constitution. India has always been able to self correct whenever such a need has arisen.”
Scores of literary artists, filmmakers, historians and scientists have returned their awards in recent weeks to protest the growing religious intolerance particularly under Narendra Modi government.