Intolerance of diversity, dissent reason for concern: Hamid Ansari

New Delhi: Vice President Hamid Ansari on Tuesday said there was a reason for concern about “emergence of a propensity for intolerance of diversity and dissent” and pitched for evolving a social consensus around equality, justice and empowerment.

Respect for human rights includes acceptance of diversity and not merely tolerance of it, Ansari said. “It is necessary to make sure that a social consensus around equality, justice and empowerment exists, more so because there is reason today for concern about this consensus and about emergence of a propensity for intolerance of diversity and dissent,” he said.

Ansari was delivering a speech on ‘Social innovation and Social Harmony’ at the Pune International Centre. “This transition from tolerance to acceptance, in actual day-to-day practice, rather than as a mantra in political discourse, is critical for making society fully inclusive rather than selectively so,” the Vice President said.

Underlining the need for being receptive towards various identities in a plural society lest it should remain only a majoritarian democracy that under-privileges minorities, Ansari said, “it is for this reason that the Indian Constitution has provisions for the protection of minority rights”.

“Social innovation, therefore, gets linked to the levels of harmony, freedom, stability and security prevailing in a society,” he said adding that equality, equity, empowerment and justice constitute the fundamental values of democratic societies.