V.K. Singh triggers new row, says intolerance debate paid for
Los Angeles, Nov 16 (IANS) India's Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh has stirred a new controversy by suggesting that the ongoing debate on tolerance in India was a creation of "imaginative" minds of those "who are paid".
"Like a small incident of theft in a church that was depicted as an attack on the church, the same is (the case with) this intolerance debate," the former army chief told reporters on Sunday on the sidelines of the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here.
Standing in for External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who returned to New Delhi midway after Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, V.K. Singh also suggested that the current debate was motivated by the Bihar elections that the BJP-led NDA lost.
"You decide whether this is paid for or not. This particular debate (on intolerance) is no debate. It is the unnecessary creation of very imaginative minds who are being paid a lot of money," said the minister who had once called the media "presstitutes".
"I do not want to comment on how the Indian media works. And I will take you back to all the funny things that are being talked about intolerance," he said.
"When the Delhi elections took place, suddenly we found a spate of articles and a lot of hysteria that was created that churches are being attacked, the Christian community is being isolated etc.," he said.
"Whether it was paid or not paid, I do not know. That's a decision or opinion that you have to make," he said.
"I am just giving you the facts. The day that election was over, all the hoopla was gone.
"The same is (the case with) this intolerance debate. The moment the Bihar elections are over, everything is gone," he said.
"Have these people got any moral authority to even speak anything? So let's not unnecessarily confuse ourselves with what is happening and the lesson is for the Indian media," he said.
International conspiracy behind intolerance debate: Ramdev
New Delhi, Nov 16
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Monday said that there was an "international conspiracy" behind the debate revolving around growing intolerance in India.
"When Sonia Gandhi was ruling the country, she was not the prime minister but the government of the day functioned on her directions... No one said a Catholic woman is ruling the country," Ramdev said at a press conference after launching flour noodles by Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust.
"Now that a nationalist is the prime minister, why are such allegations being made? This is an international conspiracy," Ramdev said.
Asked about the lynching of a man in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly eating and keeping beef, he said: "There should be no bloodshed in the name of religion. Neither should cows be slaughtered, nor Hindus and Muslims killed in the name of the cow."
"But why should one say that a Hindu Taliban is ruling India? This ideological intolerance is being perpetuated by those who don't want a nationalist government," the yoga guru said.
"Agents of international organisations are creating such atmosphere, spreading rumour that there is religious intolerance."
Asked about the BJP's loss in the Bihar assembly election, Ramdev refused to make any direct comments saying he was not involved in the polls.
"Support extended to (Narendra) Modi-ji in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was in a different situation. Corruption was rampant, one dynasty had the feeling that it had the right to rule the country... Now, we will focus on 'yoga kranti', and if there is a political crisis in the country again, we will raise our voice," he said.