The Prime Minister’s remarks in Rajya Sabha come four days after Hamid Ansari, speaking at the annual convocation of the National Law School of India University in Bengaluru, expressed concern over “ Sense of insecurity amongst segments of our citizen body, particularly Dalits, Muslims and Christians”.
M. Venkaiah Naidu’s comment comes merely a day after outgoing vice-president Hamid Ansari asserted that “there is a feeling of unease and a sense of insecurity among the Muslims in the country.” In his last interview on Wednesday, before demitting the office, Ansari said that the Muslims in the country were experiencing a “feeling of unease.”
The anchor asked, “the Muslim community is apprehensive. It’s feeling insecure. Is that the correct assessment of how Indian Muslims feel or is it an exaggerated point of view?”. The outgoing vice-president responded to the question by saying, “it is the correct assessment. From all, I hear from different quarters, in the country. I heard the same thing in Bangalore, I’ve heard the same from other parts of the country. I hear every day more about it in North india. There is a feeling of unease. A sense of insecurity is creeping in.”
On a related note, in his last address as the Ansari said that democracy would turn into tyranny, if opposition groups are not given the right to free criticism, adding that a democracy is distinguished by the protection it gives to a minority.
“A democracy is distinguished by the protection it gives to a minority. Democracy is likely to degenerate into a tyranny if it does not allow the opposition groups to criticise freely and frankly the policies of the government. But at the same time, the minorities have also their responsibilities,” he said, quoting former president Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan during his farewell speech at the Rajya Sabha.
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He disagreed with the view that there was growing intolerance, saying Indian society was the most tolerant in the world because of its people and civilisation. There is tolerance, he said, and that is why democracy is so successful. “If you single out one community, other communities will take it otherwise. That is why we say all are equal. Appeasement for none, justice for all,” Naidu said.
The BJP was more direct in criticising Ansari’s remarks on the sense of insecurity among minorities. Condemning the remarks as an “insult to the country”, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayavargiya said the outgoing Vice-President had “damaged the country’s image”.
“He held a constitutional post and was Vice-President of this country for ten years. He says Muslims do not feel safe in this country. It is an insult to this country and its institutions. India has more Muslims than many Muslim countries in the world. He should not have said so,” Vijayavargiya told The Indian Express.
“Under Modi’s leadership, the entire world is looking up to India and the world respects this country and its leadership. His (Ansari’s) remark will damage the country’s image. I condemn it,” he said. “He may be having a political agenda. He may want to come under a particular political umbrella,” he said.