PM Modi says Hamid Ansari free to pursue core thinking after former vice-president says Muslims feel insecure
A day after outgoing vice president Hamid Ansari said Muslims were feeling insecure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday he (Ansari) will be free to pursue his “core thinking” once he demits office.
In his remarks in the Rajya Sabha, where Ansari was given a farewell on his last day in office, Modi hailed his role in the past 10 years and said Ansari had tried his best to live up to it.
The Prime Minister referred to the 100 years of public life of Ansari’s forefathers and said they were aligned with the Congress and Khilafat Movement.
Modi recalled Ansari’s diplomatic career during which he spent many years in West Asia and his role on retirement as the Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University and as the Chairman of Minorities Commission.
“Many years of your life were spent in that circle. You stayed in that atmosphere, with that thinking and debating with those people. After retirement your engagement mostly remained the same.
“...But in the last 10 years, you had a different responsibility. Every moment was spent in the ambit of Constitution and running it (Rajya Sabha). You tried your best to run it.
“Maybe there was some uneasiness within you. But from now onwards, you will not face that difficulty. You will also feel free and work, think and speak according to your core thinking.”
Ansari told the Rajya Sabha TV that there was a feeling of unease and a sense of insecurity creeping in among the Muslims in the country against the current backdrop of intolerance and vigilante violence.
His comments drew criticism from the BJP, with party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya questioning if Ansari was looking for “political shelter” after retirement.
Ansari’s successor Venkaiah Naidu, who is being sworn in on Friday, seemingly responded to the comments, dismissing them as “political propaganda”.
“Some people are saying minorities are insecure... Compared to the entire world, minorities are more safe and secure in India and they get their due,” Naidu said.