The Congress on Thursday hit out at finance minister Arun Jaitley for calling the protests by writers a manufactured revolt, saying his remark was “cynical and perverse.”
“He is targeting eminent citizens of India who have made notable contributions for which they are celebrated nationally and globally. These writers believe in the constitution, and in freedom of expression. It was expected of the government to listen to what they are saying and to address the issues they raised,” Congress leader Anand Sharma said at a press conference.
This comes a day after Jaitley wrote in his blog that “recipients of past patronage from the Congress and Left were resorting to politics by other means”. More than 30 writers from across the country have returned their literary and national awards protesting against perceived threat to free speech.
Sharma also said that Jaitley’s words showed that he cannot tolerate dissent.
Criticising Narendra Modi’s response to the Bisada lynching, he said it showed that the Prime Minister was “ insensitive” to major things happening in the country.
“Most unfortunate, sad and undesirable -- this was all the PM had to say,” Sharma said quoting Modi’s response to the lynching of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh’s Bisada village last month over rumours he had eaten beef.
The BJP government was encouraging “intolerant and divisive forces which have an agenda to undermine the republic,” Sharma said.