Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday slammed Congress for protesting against 'rising intolerance', saying that it was on this very day in 1984 that the anti-Sikh riots began in Delhi.
"Do you remember November 2, 1984? What happened in Delhi? Sikhs were being killed... and ironically on November 2, the Congress talks of tolerance. Drown in shame!", he said at a rally in Purnea in Bihar. "Congress has no right to talk about tolerance after 1984 anti-Sikh riots; they are enacting a drama", he added. "Justice was never delivered to 1984 riot victims," said the PM.
The PM's remarks come ahead of a meeting between Congress chief Sonia Gandhi with President Pranab Mukarjee on Monday, where she is likely to raise concerns over 'rising intolerance' in the country. Writers, historians, scientists and businessmen have all launched scathing attacks on the Modi government in the past few weeks. The PM is scheduled to address three more rallies in what is the campaigning for the last phase of Bihar elections.
Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu has alleged there was a "systematic, orchestrated and vicious" campaign by opponents to target the BJP-led NDA even as he stressed that while fringe elements should be segregated, not everybody should be painted with the same brush. "This is a systematic, orchestrated, vicious campaign across the country by our opponents for whatever reason. Some people are misled and some people are misleading them.
"This is not good for the country," the urban development minister said at a cultural event here in an apparent reference to the protest by authors, filmmakers and intellectuals over what they have charged is "growing intolerance" in the country. Meanwhile, Janata Dal (United) lashed out at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his defence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and questioned his stand on the growing intolerance in the country.
"Where was Jaitley when there was violence after Godhra and the law was silent and Modi ji was supporting the rioters? Where was he when one lakh people had left their houses due to intolerance in Muzaffarnagar. Where was he when a Muslim was forced to eat when he was keeping fast during the time of Ramzan," asked JD (U) leader K.C. Tyagi.