इंडियन आवाज़     13 Apr 2024 11:44:40      انڈین آواز

Ex-PM Manmohan Singh pulls up Modi govt for ‘intolerance’

(Last Updated On: 06/11/2015)

Andalib Akhter /

NEW DELHI: Amid the debate on the growing intolerance in the country, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today warned that suppression of dissent voice poses “grave danger” for economic development.

The remarks come at a time when writers, artists, filmmakers and opposition parties have been protesting over incidents like the killing of rationalists and mob attacks over beef-eating or cow slaughter rumours.

He said peace in the country was essential not just for human existence and survival, but also for economic growth and development. “Capital is likely to be frightened away by conflict,” he said.

“The nation is deeply concerned at recent tragic instances of violations of freedom of thought, belief, speech and expression by some violent extremist groups” he said while speaking at a conference to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru in New Delhi.

“Religion is a private matter in which no one, including state, can interfere. In a secular republic, no religion can become the basis of public policy or governance, nor can any religious belief be imposed on anyone,” he said adding that no religion should become basis of public policy.

“Peace and freedom have poignant depth and meaning for my generation, the generation that lived through partition – that incomparable holocaust of hatred in which both peace and freedom were lost for so many,” he said.

“The nation is deeply concerned at the recent tragic instances of blatant violations of the right to freedom of thought, belief, speech and expression in our country by some violent extremist groups. The assault or murder of thinkers cannot be justified on any grounds, nor can suppression of right to dissent be allowed,” said Dr Singh.

“All right thinking people in the country have condemned such incidents in the strongest terms as an assault on the nation,” he added.

Invoking Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister and the Congress’ biggest icon, Dr Singh said: “The prerequisite for innovation, entrepreneurship and competition is an open society and a liberal polity where individuals are free to pursue their ideas. Suppression of dissent or free speech poses a grave danger for economic development. There can be no free market without freedom.”

Also present at the conference were professor Irfan Habib, senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, AK Antony, and senior journalist Kumar Ketkar.

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