NEW DELHI:A day after US President Barack Obama expressed concern over religious intolerance in the country, the Centre on Friday retorted that India had a strong tradition of tolerance and a few “aberrations” could not alter that.
Even as Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh defended and underlined the country’s multi-ethnicity and tradition of tolerance, the Congress made the best use of Obama’s comment to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We have noted what the US President said. Modi ji had brought him with great fanfare to watch the Republic Day Parade here. Modi ji would have definitely shown the country to Obama from his point of view. May be Obama said this on the basis of what he saw of India from Modi’s vision. What was Modi’s philosophy with which he showed India to Obama that the latter had to say so?” AICC general secretary Ajay Maken asked.
Obama’s had on Thursday said in Washington that the “acts of intolerance” experienced by religious faiths of all types in India in the past few years would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi. This was the second time in 10 days that Obama had alluded to communal tensions in India.
The first reaction on Obama’s comment came from Jaitley, who was addressing reporters at the party headquarters here. “That any society must be a tolerant society is a fact that each of us has to accept. It’s good to be tolerant. The country has a huge cultural history of tolerance. Any aberration doesn’t alter the history,” he said.
Referring to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he added that the best example of tolerance was sitting next to Obama when the statement was made. “It’s a part of the country’s tolerance that even he found it comfortable and India found it comfortable to absorb him in the society,” he said apparently alluding to the nation giving shelter to Tibetans.