Govt open to debate on issue of intolerance: Naidu

Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said the government was open to having a debate on the issue of intolerance as he disapproved the incendiary remarks made by some BJP leaders against Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

“Nobody should speak such nonsense. The statement made by one of the local functionaries in Karnataka is totally condemnable if he has made such remarks as per the media report. The party also does not approve of the comments made by a functionary against Shahrukh Khan,” Naidu said here.

BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya had yesterday triggered a controversy when he tweeted that Shah Rukh’s “soul” is in Pakistan though he lives in India. Facing a backlash, he today withdrew his tweets.

In Karnataka, a BJP leader had threatened to behead CM Siddaramaiah if he dared to eat beef.

Asked about the protests by Congress and artistes, scientists and intellectuals against “rising intolerance”, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said their agitation was against the mandate of people, and added that the government was willing to discuss the issue if the opposition allowed the Parliament to function.

“We can discuss intolerance at length. First my suggestion to Congress is to have tolerance and allow Parliament to function. You (Congress) talk about intolerance of government… But you are intolerant as you are not allowing the government to function, you are not allowing Parliament to function,” Naidu said.

“There can be a debate in Parliament: Who is tolerant, who imposed emergency, who gagged media, who had superseded judges and who was responsible for the genocide of Sikhs? What happened to Kashmiri Pandits?” he said, attacking Congress.

“All these things can be discussed in Parliament at length… Leisurely and peacefully,” he said.

Dismissing the ongoing protests, he asked if people were being massacred now like during anti-Sikh riots of 1984 or displaced like Kashmiri Pandits were in early 90s.

“I am not trying to justify. All these things have happened earlier also. My point is anything happening anywhere at any time is condemnable. Let us not try to generalise it and let us not to politicise it,” Naidu said.

The Winter Session of the Parliament is expected to commence later this month.