New Delhi, Nov. 7: Escalating the attack on the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) over ‘growing intolerance’, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said that India’s democracy and liberty were being threatened by the ‘fascist’ organisations and also paid a tribute to the victims of ‘intolerance’
“I pay homage to the memory of Mr. Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi, who were martyred for nothing more than sharing their opinion. Also to Akhlaq and Mohsin Sheikh who were martyred for being Muslims. Vaibhav and Divya, the two kids who were burned to death because they happened to be seen as Dalits and inferiors,” Rahul said speaking at the ‘No Peace Without Freedom’ conference on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Training his guns on the BJP and the RSS, he added that the nation was gripped by a never-before-felt sense of fear and expressed his concern on the assault of diversity, rights and democratic space.
“For the first time in the history, an organisation that is openly opposed to the ideology and values of our Constitution has acquired decisive power. The stated purpose of the RSS is to establish a theocratic, autocratic state in India. To achieve this goal, it has to destroy the current liberal, progressive, secular, social democratic Republic. And as they have demonstrated in the last eighteen months, they are prepared to use this very power to destroy it,” Rahul said.
Highlighting the soaring rate of intolerance he added that peace and freedom have been ‘viciously’ wounded and condemned the rampant attack on freedom of speech and expression.
“This is an unprecedented challenge all Indian are facing. We have come here to fight for the idea of India as a sovereign, secular, socialist, democratic Republic. We have come here to fight for the idea of India where everyone has a voice and the freedom of thought and expression,” Rahul added.
Asserting that the BJP-RSS alliance was disrespecting every Indian by denying them their dignity, the Congress vice president added that the nation belonged to everyone and no one should be subjected to their ‘hateful mediocrity’.
“What we call knowledge has to be constantly tested and questioned, again and again and by everyone. When the RSS and BJP deny this, they are not just being intolerant but they are disrespecting the power and agency of Indians. With what nerve did the BJP allot an incompetent ideologue as the head of a hallowed institution? Why must all of India be subjected to the hateful mediocrity of Mohan Bhagwat on national television?” Rahul asked.
Rahul was part of the Congress delegation led by party president Sonia Gandhi in the march to the Rashtrapati Bhawan earlier, to express concern over the ‘growing intolerance’ in the country, alleged that those in power are attempting to spread hatred and divide the society while lashing out at Prime Minister Modi for his silence on the entire sequence of events.
Joining the chorus of protest against the ‘growing intolerance’ in the nation, former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had also expressed his concern over the recent incidents of ‘blatant violation of right to freedom of thought speech and expression’ and asserted that ‘suppression’ due to caste or creed cannot be accepted at any cost. (ANI)