Denouncing instances of intolerance, Home minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said instances of intolerance that were being reported in the media were "worrisome," and nobody ought to be discriminated against on the basis of faith, caste or creed.
Singh is the second top minister in the Cabinet to make a public statement condemning the violence after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The concerted statements assume significance on the back of a close political contest in Bihar between the Grand Alliance led by Nitish Kumar as well as differences between the BJP and Shiv Sena coming out wide in the open.
"The news of intolerance we are getting from electronic and print media is very worrisome," the minister said while inaugurating the Indian Police Foundation and the Indian Police Institute in New Delhi."For us, these are issues of concern," he said.
Rajnath Singh said he was making the appeal on the eve of Dussehra in the backdrop of incidents that have caused tensions in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh, Faridabad in Haryana and in Punjab.
Singh's comments come on the back of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday denouncing violence.
"It is important that people indulging in this are strongly criticised, all right-thinking sections will have to distance themselves from such methodologies," Jaitley said at a media conference in Delhi on Wednesday.
In the recent weeks, lynchings over alleged cow slaughter and beef consumption have been reported from several parts of the country; ink and paint attacks have taken place on columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni and a lawmaker from Jammu and Kashmir and over the last one year, three well-known rationalists have been murdered. More than 40 authors have returned their Sahitya Akademi award citing these incidents, fueling the debate.
"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."
Prime Minister Modi has been seen as slow to respond to the spate of violence.