Union minister of state General (retd) VK Singh on Saturday hit out at writers returning the Sahitya Akademi Awards and quitting the Akademi over “growing intolerance” in the country.
The former army chief was speaking at a function where his book -- Sahas Aur Sankalp -- was released by Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik.
The minister said the BJP government didn’t believe in “appeasement” but went by the credo of “justice for all”.
He made these comments following repeated queries pressing for his response on Dadri lynching, the ‘smear-ink’ campaign against former Atal Bihari Vajpayee aide Sudheendra Kulkarni for inviting former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid M Kasuri to Mumbai for a book launch and various attacks on writers.
Singh claimed that things were being blown out of proportion. He asked, “Did these things not happen earlier? I think various unfortunate incidents like the ones you mention have taken place for 20 years now, why this sudden brouhaha?”
He also wanted to know why everything “saffron” was being portrayed in negative light. “These days I am hearing the word ‘saffronisation’ a lot,” he noted.
“The saffron colour has for long stood for tolerance and sacrifice. But these days it’s being used in a negative light. Why?” he asked.
The minister came in for praise by the governor who urged the audience to go through the book which throws light on the former army chief’s 42 years of military service and his subsequent shift to politics.
“The book takes you through various points, including the 1965 war, the sending of the Indian Peacekeeping Force to Sri Lanka which in a way led to the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi, the Kargil war...,” said the governor who asked the publisher Vani Prakashan to offer discounts to those purchasing the book on Saturday.