‘Zero-tolerance on discrimination’
Facing flak on several minority issues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asserted that his government will not tolerate discrimination based on caste, creed and religion, adding that there is no place for imaginary apprehensions on the rights of minorities.
In an interview to Time magazine at his official residence in the national Capital, the Prime Minister also came out strongly against controversial remarks made by some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, saying, “we have immediately negated” wherever an individual view has been expressed regarding a particular minority religion.
When asked about remarks made by some party leaders that have raised concerns among Muslim, Christian and other minority communities on the future of practising their faith in the country, he said: “My government will not tolerate or accept any discrimination based on caste, creed, and religion. So, there is no place for imaginary apprehensions with regard to the rights of the minorities in India.”
He added that as far as the BJP and NDA government are concerned, there is only one holy book for reference – Constitution. The Modi government has been under fire over recent attacks on minority institutions and religious conversions. “And wherever an individual view might have been expressed with regard to a particular minority religion, we have immediately negated that. So, as far as the BJP and my government are concerned... there is only one holy book of reference, which is the Constitution of India,” he said. The Modi government has been under fire over Hinduvta outfit campaigns like ‘ghar wapsi’, ‘love-jihad’ and vandalisation of churches in Delhi and other areas of the country.
Asked about US President Barack Obama’s remarks that for India to succeed it was critical that the nation does not splinter along religious lines, Modi said if India’s history is analysed, one will not come across a single incident where the nation has attacked another country. “Similarly, you will not find any reference in our history where we have waged war based on ethnicity or religion,” he said. He added: “So, for us, the acceptance of all religions is in our blood. It is there in our civilisation. It is ingrained in our system to work together, taking all religions along (with us).”
To a question about what his faith of Hinduism meant, the Prime Minister cited from a verdict of the Supreme Court, which he said gave a “beautiful definition”. He recalled the Apex Court’s statement that Hinduism is not a religion, but a way of life. “Hinduism is a religion with immense depth and vast diversity. For example, the one who does idol worship is a Hindu and one who hates idol worship can also be a Hindu,” he said.