Ansari came under attack from the BJP and Hindutva leaders his speech during an online US Congressional Briefing on ‘Protecting India’s Pluralist Constitution’ on Wednesday.
NEW DELHI – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its supporters have targeted former Vice-President Hamid Ansari after he delivered a speech critical to the rise of intolerance in the name of cultural nationalism in India.
Ansari, who is often targeted by the BJP and Hindutva leaders for his criticism of the government, spoke , along with US lawmakers during an online Congressional Briefing on ‘Protecting India’s Pluralist Constitution’ held by American civil rights group, Indian American Media Council (IAMC) on Wednesday.
The speech delivered by Ansari did not go well with the ruling BJP and its supporters as it was critical of the government’s failure to rein in radical elements out to spoil the communal harmony in the country. BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi called the speech “anti-Modi” and hence “anti-India”.
“If one gets into India bashing while bashing Modi, you can expect such voices…. People who used to exploit minority votes are now anxious about the prevailing positive environment in the country,” he said.
Not just Ansari, there are other BJP leaders as well as the people who support the Hindutva party started targeting Ansari. They also attacked the IAMC, a group which raises voice for India’s marginalised communities abroad. Some people even went on to claim that the IAMC is linked with Pakistan and its intelligence agency.
These unsubstantiated claims have been made by the BJP only because Ansari drew attention towards the negative effects of cultural nationalism on India’s pluralist society.
Talking about minority rights and India’s pluralist society, Ansari had said “The convocation prescribes universal adult franchise and includes a comprehensive charter of rights and duties including the duty to protect the heritage of our composite culture and to promote the spirit of fraternity. This has nurtured and sustained Indian democracy for seven decades and through seventeen general elections”.
He asserted that India is one of the largest democracies of the world where people of different faiths and cultures live together. In this diverse and vast land, almost 20% people belong to different communities.
He further said that these values of India and Indian constitution are under threat due to rise of cultural nationalism.
“In recent years, we have experienced the emergence of trends and practices that dispute the well-established principle of civic nationalism and interposes a new and imaginary practice of cultural nationalism…. It wants to distinguish citizens on the basis of their faith, give vent to intolerance, insinuate otherness, and promote disquiet and insecurity. Some of its recent manifestations are chilling,” he said.
To counter the attacks on Ansari, some political leaders came out in his support. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi denounced any attempt to question the patriotism of Ansari by anyone when an anchor tried to term Ansari’s statement as “anti-India” during a debate. The Hyderabad MP underlined the services of Ansari as vice-president as also a representative of India in foreign countries.
Slamming the BJP, Congress leader Rashid Alvi said, “If there was no talk of worshipping Godse in Chhattisgarh, Mahatma Gandhi was not abused, slogans of the slaughter of Muslims were not raised by taking out the sword inside Haridwar, Yogi ji didn’t say about 80-20 in UP, and if PM hadn’t remained silent, then today, Hamid Ansari would not have made this statement. BJP is responsible for this statement”.