Engage in debate not vandalism to express views: Jaitley

Engage in debate not vandalism to express views: Jaitley
 Union minister Arun Jaitley today deprecated the rising incidents of intolerance and vandalism which he said was an "extremely disturbing trend" and called for a "civilised mode" of discussing and debating issues.

He also said the BJP has put on notice some of its own leaders who had made controversial statements in the wake of the Dadri lynching incident making it clear that the party has "outright shown our disagreement with these kinds of statements".

Jaitley's disapproval of vandalism resorted to by people to register contrarian views come against the backdrop of the Shiv Sena forcing cancellation of a music concert by Pakistani legend Ghulam Ali and talks between Indian and Pakistani cricket board Chiefs and blackening of the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni in Mumbai and ink attack on Jammu and Kashmir MLA Engineer Rashid here by a Hindu fringe outfit.

His strong words also come amidst increasing incidents of intolerance ever since the Dardi incident in Uttar Pradesh after which a truck conductor from Kashmir valley was killed in a petrol bomb attack by a mob in Jammu on suspicion of smuggling cow for slaughter and killing of a Muslim youth in Himachal Pradesh on similar suspicion.

"All right-thinking sections will have to distance themselves from these kind of methodologies," he said.

Jaitley said that those using these methods, including copy cat vandalism, must also "introspect" whether they are adding to the quality of Indian democracy or are they really reducing the credibility of India as a country before the eyes of the world itself.

Noting that it was "an extremely disturbing trend" where some people have been resorting to vandalism as an instrument of registering their protest or conveying their views, the minister said it was quite possible that in a large country like India there may be "divergent views" on many subjects.

"But we had a tradition of civility in conveying those different opinions. Also particularly because some of these issues are extremely serious," the Finance Minister told reporters in his office.

He said some issues can reflect on inter-community relations while others can reflect on sensitive areas such as Jammu and Kashmir.

"There are issues which impinge on our relations with our neighbouring countries and, therefore, there has to be a proper civilised mode of discussing and debating these issues," he said.

To a question on the Sena protest in the BCCI office against the resumption of cricketing ties, Jaitley made it clear that he would only urge the ally that it must realise that it is part of central and state government and it has a responsibility.

Asked about the tactics employed by Shiv Sena to register protests, he said the same standard of civility applies to all.

Replying to questions on provocative statements made by BJP leaders like Sangeet Som, an accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots case, and whether the government should be strict with them, Jaitley said, "You see, after the Prime Minister's comment, the President (Amit Shah) had called three gentlemen. He has very firmly told them that their statements are not appreciated by the party at all. They have been put on notice. Therefore I am sure that they corrected themselves".

He said as a political organisation, as a party and as a government, "our spokesmen are acting with utmost restraint and by various statements including the present one I am making to you, we have outright shown our disagreement with these kind of statements".

Refusing to go into the issue of individuals, he said that within the political space, there will be some people who rely on some kind of sensationalism in the media to create a constituency for themselves.

"Now, we have been able to identify people from their tactics and, therefore, the party has already put these people to notice. If somebody has made an error in the past, I am sure he will correct himself," he said.

He also said that media has a national role to play and should not allow it to be used as an oxygen by people indulging in these "outlandish behaviour".

"While we have a responsibility in public space to make sure that we distance from this kind of a behaviour, the kind of publicity that they get should also not be such that this leads to copy cat vandalism which we have seen in the last few days," he said.

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