By Aarti Tikoo Singh
New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday strongly disapproved politics of communalism and rejected the notion that the Modi government is against religious minorities.
In an exclusive interview to IANS, Singh reprimanded “vested interests” and politicians, including some of his own party members for indulging in communal politics.
Since the BJP government enacted Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which fast tracks citizenship of persecuted religious minorities of three neighbouring Islamic theocracies, the opposition and a huge number of Muslims have been protesting in several cities of India, calling the law discriminatory against Muslims.
He said that the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “from the very beginning attempted to replace a sense of fear which prevailed among Muslim citizens earlier, with a sense of confidence”.
“There are forces which are trying to mislead them. But BJP can in no circumstances go against minorities of India. Prime Minister Modi from the very beginning gave us the slogan, ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka saath, sabka vishwas (inclusive development and confidence).
“There is no question of discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, colour or religion. We can’t even think about it,” the defence minister said.
Blaming “vested interests” for communal politics, Singh said: “There are forces which think only about vote banks.”
Warning politicians against communal politics, he said, “Politics is not supposed to be done merely for votes. Politics is done to build a nation.”
Singh recalled that in his two massive public rallies at Meerut and Mangaluru, attended by thousands of people, he repeatedly said this. “Muslim citizens of India are our beloved brethren,” the defence minister said adding, “No one can touch them, let alone assault them.”
Even those who believe in Hindutva ideology cannot discriminate on the basis of identity because Hindutva itself means ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family — the philosophy in Hindu scriptures), the defence minister said.
However, ahead of the Delhi Assembly elections early this month, the political discourse in the country turned extremely communal with some of the BJP ministers and legislators issuing violent threats and communally provocative statements too.
“No one, absolutely no one, should make statements which are against our ideology of ‘the world is one family’. Period,” the defence minister said.