Parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Monday there was “some amount” of intolerance in the society which has to be identified and dealt with firmly, instead of generalising it.
Without referring to any particular incident, Naidu -- participating in the debate in Rajya Sabha -- said people making out of turn statements should be condemned, isolated and disowned.
“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,” he said as he referred to instances of killings of dalits and writers in certain states.
He said incidents have not happened overnight after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister. “These things have been happening.”
“Some people making out of turn statement, we have to condemn, we have to isolate them... they have to be condemnd and disowned,” he said.
He welcomed senior Congress leader P Chidambaram’s statement that banning of Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel ‘The Satanic Verses’ 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,” he said.
While banning Salman Rushdie’s book draws cheers, the same on a book on Shivaji draws protests, he said, adding that “different angles are coming -- Hindu angle, Muslim angle”.
“Let there be policy for banning books, or films,” he said.
Naidu said, “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.”
Giving an example, he said ‘X’ has been mandated to rule Tamil Nadu, ‘Y’ mandated to rule West Bengal. “We have to respect it.”
Similarly, the mandate of the people of Bihar to Nitish Kumar with support of Lalu Prasad has to be respected. “There is no choice,” he said.