Union minister Kiren Rijiju says Ramjas controversy is an ideological battle between far-Leftists and nationalists, warns freedom of expression is not freedom to abuse nation, says Naga accord is still a framework agreement, and asks why ‘praising Muslims makes one secular, and praising Hindus renders one communal’
Rahul Tripathi: What is your assessment of internal security considering insurgency is making a comeback in the Northeast and Kashmir?
If you see the internal security status before our party assumed power and compare it to now, there is a big difference. There has been no major incident in the heartland, barring a few — Gurdaspur, Pathankot etc. By and large, the situation has drastically improved. I agree with the former prime minister (Manmohan Singh)’s statement that the greatest threat to internal security is from Left-wing extremism. But that was the case around two-and-a-half-years ago. We are on the verge of overcoming this threat and there has been major success in Central India.
Regarding the Northeast, except a few incidents in Manipur, we have been able to establish peace. J&K is an issue, unfortunately one or two incidents sparked problems. But the situation is under control and we are moving back to normalcy.
Coomi Kapoor: Your government’s reputation for intolerance has come to the fore again, in the way you and others took on the young college girl, Gurmehar Kaur. Was it necessary to do that?
I think this debate of intolerance is misplaced. Some people are desperate as their ideology is being discarded and they are not getting the support of majority of the people, so they are trying to create a debate. The second point is that this problem, which we see in colleges and universities, is an ideological battle between far-Leftists and nationalists. Students themselves will have to decide what is best for their college and what is best for the country.
With regard to the government’s position, we are very clear. There must be absolute freedom for everybody to express their opinion in colleges and universities across India. There is absolute right for dissent and disagreement. Criticism of the government is very healthy in a democracy because that brings in accountability. The only line which I clearly draw is that don’t do it against the nation.
These far-Leftists celebrate every time a soldier is killed (but) every time there is some injury to a terrorist, they come out in support of that person. Their actions are always anti-State, anti-national. So we have to clearly say that freedom of expression is not freedom to abuse your nation.
Nobody has the absolute freedom or privilege to define nationalism. It is not mine or anybody’s birthright. Nationalism is a connotation, you can define it, but abusing the nation is anti-nationalism. I’m very clear that if you say divide India, if you raise slogans for the freedom of J&K, for Bastar, for any region of India, that is anti-India.
When they shout ‘I want azadi’, I pity them. People from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Tibet, come to India because they get shelter in this country. If Indians were so intolerant, why would they come and suffer here? There is absolute freedom in India.
Source By indianexpress