Writers’ protest real or manufactured ? – asks Arun Jaitley
New Delhi : At the rising number of Awardees returning their awards on protest against murder of writers and lynching over beef matter, the ruling NDA government had been expressing its opinion in several trickling modes, some directly responding to media queries, while others opting for platforms like social media, twitter, Facebook and blogs. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday took a call on the entire matter and expressed his deepest concerns over the rise of political prejudices, which happen to be the driving force behind the awards being returned in a protest mode.
Jaitley on Wednesday hit back at writers who have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards to protest against the alleged rise in intolerance under the Modi government. He stated that the agitators had manufactured a protest and were indulging in politics by other means due to their ideological intolerance. ‘Is this protest real or a manufactured one? Is this not a case of ideological intolerance?’ he asked, pointing out that writers with Left or Nehruvian leaning who enjoyed the patronage of the previous establishment are not comfortable with the Modi dispensation. ‘The new strategy of anti-Modi, anti-BJP sections appears to be to resort to politics by other means. The easiest way is to manufacture a crisis and subsequently manufacture a paper rebellion against the government in the wake of a manufactured crisis,” said the Finance Minister.
Writing on his blog, Jaitley alleged that, earlier, isolated instances of attacks on churches were projected as a major communal conspiracy. He wrote – The protest at that time highlighted two factors; firstly that this was an attack on institutions of minority community and secondly, the prime minister was quiet about it. Once the truth of these attacks as being cases of crime was established, the propaganda and propagandists have both disappeared. He added that in the current context, killings of three rationalist writers which happened at different times and under jurisdictions of different governments were lumped to create a similar impression. He added – Nobody has alleged any governmental complacency in these crimes. But to manufacture a revolt, it is necessary to obfuscate the truth and create the impression that the Modi government is responsible for these crimes even if they took place in Congress and Samajwadi Party ruled states. In fact, one of the protesting writers in 2015, while returning her Padma Shri, has cited the Sikh killings of 1984 as one of her reasons. It took 31 years for this writer’s conscience to be aroused by the genocide of 1984. There is no atmosphere of intolerance in the country. The manufactured revolt is a case of an ideological intolerance towards the BJP.
On the Beef issue, Jaitley termed the killing of Mohammad Akhlaq for allegedly eating beef as ‘extremely unfortunate and condemnable,’ but he questioned the motive of several writers who have returned Sahitya Akademi awards by citing the rise of what they call ‘atmosphere of intolerance.’ He specifically said, the Dadri killing could neither be rationalized nor condoned, but he further stressed that the protesters never showed similar activism when India faced real crises. He stated – A few questions to the protesters: How many of them courted arrest, protested or raised their voice against the dictatorship of Mrs. Indira Gandhi during the Emergency? Did the writers speak against the Sikh killings of 1984 or the Bhagalpur riots of 1989? Was their conscience not shaken by the corruption involving lakhs of crores between 2004 and 2014?
The ruling government at the centre has been giving counter-attack reactions. Culture minister Mahesh Sharma and BJP MP Satyapal Singh had accused the protesting writers of ‘selected outrage,’ whereas Jaitley along with IT minister Ravishankar Prasad indicated that the government was not going to deviate confronting these motivated opponents.
Many number of writers have been returning their Sahitya academy awards as a mark of protest over the ruling government in the centre, stating that there has been a rising intolerance under Modi administration.