VP-elect Naidu dubs Ansari's Muslim insecurity remark 'political agenda'
On the eve of taking over as Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday outgoing Vice President Hamid Ansari's remarks that Muslims in India were feeling insecure were loaded with politics.
Naidu maintained that there was no fear among Muslims in India -- "the most tolerant country in the world".
"Some people are saying minorities are insecure. It is a political propaganda. Compared to the entire world, minorities are more safe and secure in India and they get their due," Naidu told a section of the media.
"Agenda of politics should be development. People try to use minority issues for political purposes," he said.
Naidu, 68, who was a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet, did not name anyone in his comments but he was obviously referring to Ansari's remarks to Rajya Sabha TV that there was a feeling of unease and insecurity among the Muslims amid rising incidents of intolerance and vigilante violence.
The new Vice President disagreed, saying India was "the most tolerant country in the world" and had an "ethos of mutual respect for each other".
"India is the best model of secularism. If you single out one community, other communities will take it otherwise. That is why we say all are equal. Appeasement for none, justice for all.
"Despite different languages, different attires, our country is one. Unity in the diversity is India's speciality."
The former BJP leader said the history of India was witness to the fact that members of minorities have never been discriminated against and have got prominent positions including constitutional responsibilities "on account of their merit".
Naidu said incidents of vigilante violence in the name of cow or caste or religion in "a huge country" like India were "nothing but aberrations".
"Unfortunately, some people are trying to blow (these incidents of violence) out of proportion and trying to defame India, raising it to the national forum," he said.
He said incidents like that needed to be deplored and appropriate action taken against perpetrators of such acts.
Naidu will be administered the oath of office by new President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday.