During the course of the discussion on ‘Commitment to India’s Constitution’ in the Rajya Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said that there was “some amount” of intolerance in the society which has to be identified and dealt with firmly.
“There is some amount of intolerance in the society, in different areas. That has to be identified, it has to be localised, it has to be dealt with firmly. Instead of that, we are making it generalised,” Naidu said while referring to instances of killing of dalits and writers in certain states.
“These things have been happening,” Naidu said, explaining that the incidents did not occur overnight after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister.
“Some people making out of turn statement, we have to condemn, we have to isolate them… they have to be condemned and disowned,” he added, without referring to any particular incident.
Naidu also expressed his opinion on what senior Congress leader P Chidambaram had said about Salman Rushdie’s controversial book ‘The Satanic Verses’.
Surprisingly, Naidu welcomed Chidambaram’s statement who said that the decision to ban Rushdie’s novel by the Rajiv Gandhi government was “wrong”.
“Sir, there are two things, one people writing the books, they should not affect the sentiments of the people, they should not arouse social tension, but at the same time, freedom of expression and freedom of speech, people have got right. But there has to be broad consensus about how do we go about it,” Naidu said on the floor of the House.
“Let there be policy for banning books, or films…let us all be tolerant to each other and then tolerant to verdict of the people. … Respecting the mandate of the people was the biggest form of tolerance,” Naidu said.
Naidu then appealed to the political parties to rise above nit-picking.
“After 68 years of independence, genuine concerns agitating the minds should be addressed. Instead “we are scoring political points,” Naidu said.
“I dont want to score political points… This day, we have to ponder over where we are lagging, what are the shortcomings,” he said calling for a dialogue and consensus between the opposition and government.
“Let us debate, discuss and decide,” Naidu added.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister then went on to reach out to the House, especially the Opposition and called for a consensus on the issues before the House.
“Let us not be hypocritical,” he said, adding that bringing an issue in the agenda is not important. “Unless there is consensus, it is difficult to go” ahead.
(With inputs from PTI)