Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has said the recent hate speeches — as happened at religious conclaves in Haridwar and Delhi — should be “negated and given no importance”. In such cases, the law should be allowed to take its course, he told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
Only five people have been named so far in the Haridwar hate speech case, where calls to arms against Muslims and genocide were issued openly.
“In my view, Swami Vivekananda said it all at the religious conclave in Chicago — that our religion is based on tolerance, simplicity, inclusiveness… Our kings never broke anyone’s place of worship. We are not expansionists. We want the good of everyone — of the world, of every living creature. This is our heritage and our viewpoint,” Mr Gadkari told NDTV.
“So anyone who goes against it is not our viewpoint. It should be negated and given no importance,” he added.
Asked whether action should be taken in such cases, where efforts are made to create rift and communal tension, he said the law should take its course.
“We should remain tolerant, respectful towards all religions, should not hurt anyone’s sentiments and take everyone forward,” he added, invoking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Sabka Saath” slogan.
Asked about his views on the Bulli Bai app, used to ‘auction’ Muslim women, he said “Actions of some individuals should not be taken as a reflection of a society. The law will take its own course”.
Asked about the view that the lack of action by the ruling dispensation in such cases is allowing the atmosphere of hate to flourish, Mr Gadkari said, “It is 100 per cent wrong. We have never supported such discrimination. Neither do we recognise it, nor do we respect it”.
The arrests in the Haridwar event – the video clips of which were widely circulated — came after nationwide public outrage. Activists and civil society had openly condemned the speeches.
Five former chiefs of staff of the armed forces and over a hundred other people including bureaucrats and prominent citizens wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Modi regarding “open call of genocide of Indian Muslims, calling upon them to protect the integrity and security of our country”.
But since then, videos of local police officers sharing a laugh with the religious leaders, have raised questions about the police action in the case. In the video, Yati Narasimhanand, one of the religious leaders, is heard saying “Ladka humare taraf hoga (he will be on our side).”
After further outrage over the video, he was named in the case. No arrest, however, has been made I the matter.