In a scathing attack on government over ‘intolerance’ issue, Rahul Gandhi today asked it not to learn the “wrong lessons” from Pakistan but listen and embrace those who have been “disturbed” over recent incidents.
The Congress Vice President, while participating in a debate on ‘intolerance’ in the Lok Sabha, also rubbished the government’s contention that the protests by some writers, historians and scientists were “manufactured”.
He even made a veiled reference to the sedition charge slapped against Patel movement leader Hardik Patel in Gujarat and said “in today’s India, staging a protest means attracting the charge of sedition.”
His speech was repeatedly interrupted by BJP members, especially when he targeted Union Minister V K Singh for allegedly likening to dogs two Dalit children in Haryana who were burnt to death. V K Singh was not present in the House.
“I request the government, please do not learn the wrong lessons from Pakistan. Be tolerant. Listen to your people, embrace your own people. Mahatma Gandhi gave voice to the people,” the Congress leader said.
“Pakistan became a failure because their leaders crushed voices of their people…were intolerant. Let us not learn the wrong lessons,” he added.
“People like Narayana Murthy, Raghuram Rajan and P M Bhargava are among the many protesting… They are disturbed like millions of other people. Respect them and try to understand what is disturbing them. Go and listen to them,” he said.
Talking about V K Singh amid cries of ‘shame-shame’ from the Opposition benches, Gandhi said, “Our Prime Minister allowed this man to continue as Minister. Ambedkar spent his entire life ….and wrote the Constitution so that the two children are not burnt. The Prime Minister is unable to see this contradiction.”
He regretted that the Prime Minister remained silent after the Dadri lynching incident despite the fact that the son of the person killed is an air force personnel. “The ultimate responsibility for his protection is with the Prime Minister who remained silent”, he remarked.
Hitting hard at government’s dismissal of the protests by writers and artistes as “manufactured revolt”, Gandhi lamented “the governemnt did not bother to speak to them. Arun Jaitley ji simply says it is manufactured. Why they will manufacture it. Arun Jaitleyji, this is not dream like your Make In India project. This is reality.”
Seeking to pick holes in the government’s argument, he wondered whether Narayana Murthy, Rajan and Bhargava had “nothing better to do than manufacture protest against you.”
Taking a dig at some BJP leaders over the Aamir Khan issue, he said while the Prime Minister talks about economic growth and progress, “at the same time his colleagues are talking about sending Bollywood stars to Pakistan.