NEW DELHI: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday questioned protestors for raising 'azadi' slogans when the country is already free, and slammed the opposition for "demeaning" constitutional bodies in public.
He said freedom of speech is exercised in the country under Article 19 (1) of the Constitution, but reminded of "reasonable restrictions" on such freedom.
"We hear slogans of 'azadi-azadi' these days at some places. Azadi from what? The country is free. People criticise the government freely. They can elect or vote out anyone. Some of them even gherao universities and resent against police also. Then azadi from what?," Prasad said on Twitter.
We hear slogans of Azadi Azadi these days at some places. Azadi from what? The country is free. People criticise the govt. freely. They can elect or vote out anyone. Some of them even gherao Universities and resent against Police also. Then Azadi from what? #TimesNowSummit pic.twitter.com/RkR2U65U4Z— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) February 12, 2020
Addressing the 'Times Now Summit', the senior BJP leader said, "Your freedom is to the level where you even gherao your university, even fight with police.
Then from whom do you want freedom? This question has to be debated".
He also accused the opposition of filing "collusive" public interest litigations with an agenda to run the country through the corridors of Supreme Court.
Prasad slammed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his series of allegations against the government and constitutional bodies.
"Who castigated the Election Commission of India? Who publicly derided the CAG? Who gave oblique comments against the Supreme Court? Who is making these kinds of allegations against the media, because Rahul Gandhi cannot face you (government) directly. Who compromised the integrity of Indian armed forces and other institutions? Who was seeking evidence of Balakot? These are very troubling moments in the polity of India," he said.
The Union minister also hit out at those personalities who had offered to return their awards in protest against the government.
"I want to ask those who are so excited about occasional and selective Award Wapsi Programme as to why they maintain silence when young Hindu girls are raped and minorities forced to convert in Pakistan? Does their plight not provoke them?" Prasad said.