Admitting “some amount of intolerance” exists in the society, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said in the Rajya Sabha on Monday that the issues need to be “localised and dealt with firmly”.
The minister, however, added instead of that, issues are being generalised, showing India in a “poor light”.
“There is some amount of intolerance in the society in different areas, that has to be identified, that has to be localised, it has to be dealt with firmly,” Naidu said while participating in a discussion on ‘Commitment to the Constitution’ as part of 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Bhimrao Ambedkar.
“Instead of that, we are trying to make it generalised, which in turn shows India in a poor light which is not in national interest,” he said.
“Keep that in mind and then when intolerance debate takes place in the house, there are other seniors who will participate in that. I am only appealing. Let us all be tolerant to each other, and then tolerant towards the mandate of the people,” he said.
“According to me, biggest tolerance, biggest respect to thed constitution is respect of mandate of people,” he added.
“This is also an important aspect that there has to be respect to verdict of the people. Respect to the other man’s belief,” the minister said.
Naidu also said there have been incidents of intolerance under different regimes and it is not that it started happening after Narendra Modi became the prime minister.
“…All these things have not happened overnight after Narendra Modi has become the prime minister. These things have been have been happening in different parts of country. I am not trying to justify anything. The atrocities on Dalits, are they happening now?” he asked.
Referring to former finance minister P. Chidambaram’s comment that banning Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses was a mistake, Naidu said there should be a uniform policy on banning books and even banning “feelings”.
“Chidambaram said it was wrong on their part to ban Salman Rushdie’s book. There are two things: One, people writing books should not arouse social tension. But at the same time about freedom of expression and freedom of speech, people have got right, but there has to be a broad consensus how do we go about it. You ban Salman Rushdie’s book, people are happy, somebody ban Shivaji book, then there is protest,” he said.
“In that also different angles coming… Hindu-Muslim angle, this angle that angle. Let there be a policy to go about banning the books or banning your feelings also,” the minister added.
Earlier, the minister said that it was time for all to think how far the expectations of the founding fathers of the constitution had been achieved.
“It is the responsibility of all to address the problems of the people relating to regional imbalances, religion, caste and creed and reservation for women in parliament.”
Naidu said the real tribute to Ambedkar would be to follow his vision for the country’s development.