Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday led a delegation of over a hundred Congress leaders to President Pranab Mukherjee, urging him to use his office and impress upon the Narendra Modi government that the ‘growing intolerance’ in the Indian society is unacceptable.
Speaking to reporters outside Rashtrapati Bhavan, Sonia said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence indicates his consent to what is going on. “What is happening in our country is a plan to divide this nation. The Congress party will fight this. Incidents of intolerance are issue of serious concern for every Indian,” Sonia said.
“Two Dalit children were killed and a sitting minister in the Union government has referred to them as dogs… People are being lynched and killed and the Prime Minister is still silent. The Finance Minister believes nothing is going on in the country,” Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said, adding that there were protests across the country and people have made it clear they are unhappy with the present government’s views.
The protest march saw several state party leaders from across the country as well as leaders from the Youth Congress and the National Student Union of India.
A little ahead of the protest march, a group of Sikh activists arrived outside Parliament House shouting slogans against the Congress party demanding that party leaders be convicted for their alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots which occured between November 1 and 3 that year. The protesters, however, were quickly detained by the Delhi Police.
“We are not stopping anyone from protesting against us. Please protest against us. There is no problem. If we have done anything wrong we will say sorry. We said sorry for everything that went wrong. They don’t know the word sorry. Have they ever used the word sorry for anything?” Khurshid told The Indian Express.
When asked if the Opposition would continue the protest in the upcoming Winter session, Khurshid said the rally was not a protest but a voice of the conscience. “This is a voice of the conscience. And the voice of the conscience cannot and will not die.”
Khurshid, however, criticised Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his remarks earlier in the day categorically denying that there was any intolerance in the country.
“Arun Jaitley’s comments are like the comments of a lawyer who has been briefed to say something he doesn’t sincerely believe in.” His colleague, Congress leader Manish Tewari was more forthcoming in his criticism: “If the Finance Minister is dillusional, there is nothing we can do about it,” Tewari said. “There is a great evil that stalks this land. There is a spectade of fascism that hangs very low and it has to be combated.”
In its memorandum to the President, the Congress expressed concern over Prime Minister Modi’s inability to rein in several of his Cabinet ministers who are “contributing heavily to spreading hate and divisiveness.”
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