Against the backdrop of Dadri lynching, Union Minister Gen V K Singh on Saturday said that sometimes incidents of religious intolerance does take place and they have occurred in the past too but disapproved of the media hype over them.
Singh, a former Army Chief, also termed action of writers returning their awards as not natural but “political” and questioned why they did not do so after some “heinous incidents” took place in the past.
“Several things have happened in the past too and had they felt the same on such issues? Where were they earlier… I respect them but if they make it a political issue while being a litterateur it is not the right thing,” Singh said.
The Minister of state for External Affairs made these remarks while talking to reporters after the release of Hindi translation of his autobiography ‘Sahas aur Sankalp” at Raj Bhawan in Lucknow.
The former army chief said “a question comes naturally to mind and that is whether these (resignations) are a manifestation of their heartache or someone is behind it.” Certain “heinous incidents” did take place in the past also but awards were never returned, Singh said, adding, it does not seem “natural”.
To a question on religious intolerance, he said that sometimes minor things which have also happened in the past take place but they are given unnecessary importance.
“This country and its people have communal tolerance and harmony… showing it differently is wrong… media should also pay attention that it is not given unwanted publicity”, he said.
“I come from army where all religions live under the same roof and I found all this very strange,” he said.
On reasons behind such incidents, he said that they could be many.
“A word saffronisation was coined sometime back and I have not understood its meaning in my 40 years of career…it is a colour of sacrifice but if you show it as (something) negative it is wrong”.
“The government’s policy is that all religions are equal and it does not believe in appeasement. In a case of murder, guilty should be punished,” he said.
On his ministerial colleague Mahesh Sharma’s statements after the Dadri killing, Singh said that he (Sharma) is not a spokesman of the government. Sharma had called the lynching a Muslim man in Dadri over rumours of eating and storing beef an accident and that it be not given a communal tinge.