Stressing over the importance of freedom for bringing economic prosperity in the country, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh has joined the ongoing debate of growing intolerance. Addressing a conference on ‘No Peace Without Freedom, No Freedom Without Peace’ in New Delhi, Dr Singh said, “The nation is deeply concerned at the recent tragic incidents of blatant violation of the right to freedom of thought, belief, speech and expression by some violent extremist groups.”
“There is no progress without opposition,” he said in his speech.
During the inauguration of the conference to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the former prime minister remarked, “The assault or murder of thinkers or disagreement with their views because of food they eat or their caste cannot be justified. Nor can be the suppression of the right to dissent be allowed.”
Extending a piece of advice to the Centre, he said, “A strong government at the Centre is vital that promotes equality and fulfills equality in the country.”
In the backdrop of a heated debate over rising intolerance in the country, Dr Singh’s remarks come after Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi targeted opposition parties contending that their “political propaganda of threat to tolerance” is an “assault” on the country’s soul. Union Finance Minister and senior party leader Arun Jaitley had also claimed that “India can never be intolerant”, while Union Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptulla had dubbed the country as the “most tolerant” nation in the world.