Los Angeles: Union Minister VK Singh hit back at those who were saying that India was becoming increasing intolerant saying that the debate was unnecessary and creation of very imaginative minds being 'paid with a lot of money'.
He also asserted that it was a politically motivated move before the Bihar polls.
“This particular debate (on intolerance) is no debate. It is the unnecessary creation of very imaginative minds who are being paid with a lot of money,” Minister of State for External Affairs Singh told reporters on the sidelines of the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here, as per PTI.
Singh was in the city to attend the two-day event in place of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who had to return mid-way from Dubai in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.
“I do not want to comment on how Indian media works. And I will take you back about all the funny things that are being talked about intolerance, what you are meaning. When the Delhi (Assembly) elections took place, suddenly we found a spate of articles and a lot of hysteria that was created that churches are being attacked, the Christian community is being isolated etc,” Singh, who is a former army chief, said in response to a question on intolerance in India.
“A small incidence of theft in a church was depicted as an attack on church. Why? Because there was somebody who was trying to garner the votes, and the media was playing the ball. Whether it was being paid or not paid, I do not know. That’s a decision or opinion that you have to make,” he said.
“I am just giving you the facts. The day that election was over all the hoopla was gone,” he alleged.
“Same is (the case with) this intolerance debate. The moment Bihar elections are over everything is gone. So lets not unnecessarily do things, which are wrong. All these people who were talking of intolerance and I would like you to put it down in your papers what happened when a Gandhian (Anna Hazare) in his 70s protesting against corruption was picked up in the middle of a night and put into Tihar (Jail). Which was the government in place at that time?” he asked.
“Have these people got any moral authority to even speak anything. So lets not unnecessarily confuse ourselves with this that is happening and lesson is for the Indian media,” Singh said.
On November 13, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said durinh his visit to United Kingdom that India's diversity was the country's "strength and pride" and underlined the importance of peaceful co-existence.
Modi had also said that there is no reason for India to remain poor, asserting. "we harbor poverty for no reason."
"India is full of diversity. This diversity is our pride and it is our strength. Diversity is the speciality of India." he had also said, adding that despite the country being home to diverse religions, over 100 languages and 1,500 dialects Indians have proved how to live together.
Meanwhile, poet Ashok Vajpeyi said, "I challenge VK Singh to prove his allegation. He should clearly state who paid money and who took," as per ANI.
(With Agency inputs)