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Engage in debate, not vandalism : Arun Jaitley on incidents of intolerance

New Delhi, Oct 20 : Breaking the government’s silence over incidence of intolerance in the country Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday urged all maintain restraint and engage themselves in “debate, not vandalism.”

“It is important that people indulging in this are strongly criticised, all right-thinking sections will have to distance themselves from such methodologies,” he said at a media conference.

His comment came in the context of the recent lynchings over alleged cow slaughter and beef consumption in different parts of the country, murder of rationalists and ink and paint attacks on columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni and a lawmaker from Jammu and Kashmir- all whipping up an outcry across the country over rising intolerance to which, critics say, the government has been a mute spectator.

To register their protests, more than 40 well known authors have returned their Sahitya Akademy awards.

“Some of these issues are extremely serious, some can reflect on inter-community relations, others can reflect on sensitive areas such as Jammu and Kashmir,” the finance minister said. “Therefore, there has to be a proper and civilised mode of discussing and debating these issues.”

In a reference to controversial statements made by certain BJP leaders over the Dadri lynching, Jaitley said :
“Party (BJP) president has very strongly taken it up with them, the Prime Minister has conveyed his views, all of them have been spoken to.”

Earlier, the Prime Minister had described the incidents of violence as “sad and undesirable”, but disowned the responsibility of the government or the BJP for such happenings. He had underscored that Hindus and Muslmis should fight poverty and not each other.

President Pranab Mukherjee too, more than once called for amity and maintaining tolerance, which he said, has been the pillar of Indian civilisation.

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