V-P: Freedom of speech needs checks to protect others' rights
Mumbai: Freedom of speech needed some regulation to protect the rights of others, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said on Monday, adding that while dissent was acceptable, "disintegration" was not. He also said that of the 700-odd universities in the country, only few "have some problems", while the rest were peaceful.
Speaking at a platinum jubilee celebration event of the R A Podar College of Commerce and Economics here, Naidu said, "There is freedom of speech, but it needs some regulations to protect the rights of others as well." "Dissent is agreeable, but disintegration cannot be allowed of the country. This should be understood by one and all. Disintegration, no country can accept. "There are some things that make me worry...There are 740 universities in the country. Out of those, 730 are very peaceful. Only a few universities have some problems. They were in the news for unnecessary controversies," he added, without naming any institution.
"Somewhere, a university organised a beef festival. If you want to eat, you can eat, but why organise a festival in the college and hurt the sentiments of others? There were some students, who even praised terrorist Afzal Guru," Naidu said. In an apparent reference to the slogans advocating India's disintegration, which were allegedly shouted at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, the vice-president said the talk of disintegration had come against the backdrop of "one of our neighbours aiding, abetting, funding and training terrorists and sending (them) here".
"I need not explain the dangers of terror to the people of Mumbai, who have gone through 26/11 (terror attacks)," he said. India is one of the fastest growing economies with a predominantly young population and the World Bank as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have predicted that it will be the third largest economy in the world in seven years, Naidu pointed out. At the same time, after 70 years of independence, 25 per cent of the population was still below the poverty line and an equal percentage of people could not read or write, he said.
"There is also social discrimination in our country, based on caste and gender. We have created these artificial barriers. Caste had come (into being) on account of professions. Now, the professions are changing. People are becoming knowledgeable and doing businesses which were not done earlier. The king is now replaced by a prime minister, through a democratic process," the vice president said. "Go to the Puranas and Vedas, where (you will find that) women were treated equally (to men)," he added.