PATNA: Home Minister Rajnath Singh today came down on writers and some prominent persons returning their Padma and Sahitya Akademi awards terming it as a political conspiracy and wondered what these people were doing when there were communal riots during Congress rule.
He questioned how can anyone say now that intolerance has been increasing as no big communal clash or tension has taken place anywhere in the country after the Narendra Modi government came to power. "Congress government was in power in India for a long time. In several states, communal riots had taken place then. 4000-5000 people have died even in a single state. No one gave their resignations at that time. Why is it happening now is beyond our understanding," he said.
The Home Minister said he could say with certainty that this (returning of awards) is happening because of political reasons. "If someone wants to protest, there are many ways to do it. If someone is given an honour which is a symbol of national pride, putting that on the line for protesting is something I fail to understand. As far as I can understand, it's happening for political reasons," he said.
Singh asked how can someone can blame the central government if some incidents have taken place in a state, like the lynching of a Muslim man at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh. "Can't people understand that law and order is a state subject? We cannot interfere even if we want to without the state's permission. Somewhere there is a deep conspiracy which cannot be ruled out," he told India Today TV.
Historians today joined writers, filmmakers and scientists in growing protests against "climate of intolerance" over which top scientist P M Bhargava said he will return his Padma Bhushan award, alleging Modi government was trying to make India into a "Hindu religious autocracy".