NEW DELHI: Criticising the returning of awards over "intolerance", Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said there was a politically-motivated drive behind the negative agenda by a few writers and artists.
"The country witnessed unfortunate situation few days ago when some writers and artists returned their awards on the issue of so-called intolerance. This award-returning campaign was part of a politically-motivated campaign launched by the opponents of the BJP for Bihar elections," Naqvi said at an award function here and observed that the negative campaign ended with the election results.
"Tolerance, brotherhood, social harmony, these are in the DNA of India and its people. Nobody can destroy it. Our culture and heritage are our strength," Naqvi, who holds the charge of Parliamentary and Minority Affairs as Minister of State, said.
He further said returning award is not important but getting the same is. "Various governments and organizations award people in recognition of their service to the nation. Awards also strengthen their mission of giving positive message to the society. They should take care of dignity of the awards given to them," he said.
Appealing to the intellectual community including artists, writers and others, Naqvi said they should contribute to take forward wave of development in the country. "If these intellectuals get influenced by politically- motivated propaganda and knowingly or unknowingly become a part of conspiracy to block the nation's development journey, then this will not only affect the nation's image but also that of the awards given to them for their own achievements," he said.
Referring to "terrorism and radicalism", Naqvi said, "We can see dangerous form of intolerance in Syria, Pakistan and other countries where innocent children are being killed in their schools, journalists are being murdered and people are being beheaded in front of camera."
"I want to ask those raising the issue of so-called intolerance, is there any such situation in India? Conspiracy to create communal and social tension has failed since the (Narendra) Modi Government came to power last year," he said. Naqvi also said that "the incidents in Dadri, Karnataka or Faridabad cannot be justified".
Lauding the role of writers and artists in the development of the society, he said a number of writers and other artists have made significant contribution to nation building and social reforms.
"If we have to save the nation from any conspiracy to derail its development journey, then every section of the society will have to come forward. Efforts of poets, writers, artists and other intellectuals will be crucial in this regard," he said.