Engage in debate, not vandalism to express views: Arun Jaitley

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Arun Jaitley

Union minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday came out strongly against the “extremely disturbing trend” of people resorting to vandalism to register contrarian views and said there has to be a proper “civilised mode” of discussing and debating issues.

“All right-thinking sections will have to distance themselves from these kind of methodologies,” he said in the backdrop of a series of incidents including where BJP ally Shiv Sena stormed the BCCI headquarters and blackened the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni in Mumbai.

Asked about the tactics employed by Shiv Sena to register protests, he said the same standard of civility applies to all.

He also said that the BJP President has “strongly” taken up with the “few leaders” in his party, who had made statements on sensitive issues, adding, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had conveyed his views.

Jaitley said that those using these methods must also “introspect” whether they are adding to the quality of Indian democracy or are they really “reducing” the credibility of India as a country before the eyes of the world itself.

Noting that it was “an extremely disturbing trend” where some people have been resorting to vandalism as an instrument of registering their protest or conveying their views, the minister said it is quite possible that in a large country like India there may be “divergent views” on many subjects.

“But we had a tradition of civility in conveying those different opinions. Also particularly because some of these issues are extremely serious,” the Finance Minister told reporters in his office.

He said some issues can reflect on inter-community relations while others can reflect on sensitive areas such as Jammu and Kashmir.

“There are issues which impinge on our relations with our neighbouring countries and therefore there has to be a proper civilised mode of discussing and debating these issues,” he said.

Jaitley said he has no problem if people convey contrarian view because that is the essence of democracy and debate.

“But the debate will have to be conducted in a manner in which we are able to raise the level of debate rather than use vandalism as an instrument for registering our opinion or protests,” he said.

Jaitley, who is also the Information and Broadcasting Minister, said he feels that it is extremely important that people indulging in this are strongly criticised.

“All right-thinking sections will have to distance themselves from these kind of methodologies which are being used.

“And those who are using these methods must also introspect whether they are adding to the quality of Indian democracy or they are really reducing the credibility of India as a country before the eyes of the world itself,” he said.
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