Noted writer Gurbachan Singh Bhullar said here on Sunday that the fringe elements, creating an atmosphere of intolerance in the country, were active during the Congress-led United Progressing Alliance (UPA) regime at the centre also, but the party had ignored their activities.
Addressing a seminar on “intolerance” organised by the Punjabi Sahit Sabha, Bhullar said, “These elements had also forced noted painter MF Hussain to leave the country when the UPA was in power,” he said. He, however, said the Congress just ignored these elements and did not promote or support them.
“These fringe elements didn’t get support from the people in power during the Congress rule. It is for the first time that people in power are actively supporting and defending such elements,” he said.
Urging the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government to retrospect, Bhullar said that opening channels of social and political communication, which have been blocked by the present government, is the only way forward.
Dwelling on controversies over beef, love jehad and ghar wapsi under the present BJP-led NDA government, Bhullar said that an atmosphere was being created in the country in which people of a particular community are a scared lot. He also targeted the NDA government for appointing incapable people from Hindu rightist organisations as heads of educational and research institutions.
Terming the return of awards by a cross-section of writers a historic happening, another writer Ajmer Singh Aulakh said that the development was not politically motivated as was alleged, but it was a spontaneous reaction from the writers as they were upset at the happenings. He asked intellectuals to play their pro-society and pro-country role in a democratic way.
Baldev Singh ‘Sadaknama’ said that this was the only way left with the writers to resort to protest against the atmosphere of “intolerance” being created by the fringe elements in the country.
Bhullar, Aulakh and Sadaknama have also returned their Sahitya Akademi awards against the growing “intolerance” under the NDA government. The gathering was also addressed by Megh Raj Mittar and Surjit Brar.