Instances of vandalism a disturbing trend, says Jaitley

RSTV Bureau
Mumbai: Former ideologue of the BJP Sudheendra Kulkarni, with face blackened by Shiv Sena activists, and former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri showing the latter's book at a press conference in Mumbai on October 12, 2015. Photo - PTI

Mumbai: Former ideologue of the BJP Sudheendra Kulkarni, with face blackened by Shiv Sena activists, and former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri showing the latter’s book at a press conference in Mumbai on October 12, 2015.
Photo – PTI

Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley has worryingly voiced against the recent incidents of vandalism and violent means to register an opposition to a differing view. Terming it an “extremely disturbing” development, Arun Jaitley, who also doubles up as a senior BJP leader, sought tolerance in taking up the issues and not resort to “vandalism”.

“Extremely disturbing trend that some people have been resorting to vandalism to register their point and views,” Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.

“There has to be a proper and civilised way to discuss issues rather than resort to vandalism for registering opinion and views,” the Union minister added in his remarks.

Incidentally, Mr. Jaitley’s remarks came just a day after President Pranab Mukherjee’s strong message where he pitched for the need to counter “divisive forces” through the doctrine of unity and tolerance.

“Hope Mahamaya – the combination of all positive forces would eliminate the Asuras or divisive forces,” President of the Union had said in Birbhum, West Bengal on Monday adding “our collective strength must to be harnessed to resist evil powers in society”.

File Photo ( PTI )

File Photo ( PTI )

This was President Pranab Mukherjee’s second such statement in less than a month, where urged the citizens to follow the path of tolerance and unity.

Incidents like Dadri murder, where a 50-year-old man was killed by the mob over the rumours that he ate beef, killings of rationalist thinkers like MM Kalburgi, fatal attack on the truck conductor in Jammu and Kashmir to the smearing of black paint on Sudheendra Kulkarni by Shiv Sena cadres and opposing a book release by Pakistan ex-minister Khurshid Kasuri has set in motion the debate on what is being termed as “rising intolerance” in the country. On Monday too, Jammu and Kashmir MLA Engineer Rashid was heckled and ‘ink’ attacked by the members of fringe group in Delhi.

More than 35 eminent writers and authors have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards & honours and some have even quit their Akademi office in protest against the “rising intolerance”.

Though Prime Minister Modi had also made a statement seeking peace and unity, it has not been able to either stem the criticism of the incumbent BJP-led NDA government at the Centre or stall such incidents.

New Delhi : Jammu and Kashmir MLA Abdul Rashid Sheikh's (L) face was blackened by few activists, allegedly belonging to a right-wing organisation, at Press Club in New Delhi on October 19, 2015. Photo - PTI

New Delhi : Jammu and Kashmir MLA Abdul Rashid Sheikh’s (L) face was blackened by few activists, allegedly belonging to a right-wing organisation, at Press Club in New Delhi on October 19, 2015.
Photo – PTI

Expressing apprehensions over the spate of incidents where the dissenting view had been opposed with violent means, Mr. Jaitley said that it is “extremely important that people involved in it have to be strongly criticized”.

“Some of these issues are extremely serious, some can reflect on inter-community relations, others can reflect on sensitive areas such as Jammu and Kashmir,” Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley added further.

Meanwhile, the Congress party had expressed their dissatisfaction with the way in which Centre has dealt with the issue.

“Congress is not satisfied with Arun Jaitley’s statement…. The party wants tangible action against elements, organisations and forces maligning India’s fair name globally,” Congress party’s senior leader Anand Sharma said reacting to Arun Jaitley’s remarks.

“Congress will take initiative in bringing together all secular, democratic and progressive forces in the backdrop of continued assault on institutions,” Mr. Sharma, Deputy leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha in his response.

(With inputs from the PTI)