“We obviously belong to different ideological formulations and all of us have a right to believe that my own roadmap is the best to keep this country together,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Underlining that unity of the country is “paramount”, the senior minister referred to the JNU incident and said, “if we have to keep this country together, then obviously we have to make sure that the space for those who speak in the break up of this country, itself, that space if not narrowed down, it should be completely eliminated.
“But in the name of freedom of thought, freedom of expression, I have no hesitation in saying that both my party and the government are absolutely clear that anybody who raises a voice against the sovereignty and integrity of India, we are certainly against them. We will discourage them and we will ask the law to take its own course.I would urge members that rather than come out with subsequent explanations that we don’t agree with them, they should be one in denouncing such activities as we have seen,” he said.
Jaitley said Congress has been a mainstream party and was personally very surprised to see it supporting a ‘fringe’.
With regard to questions asked in London on JNU and Hyderabad University, he said,”you can have people who have concern for some of the activities that happened there, but most people in this country, an overwhelming majority does not support the idea of eulogising those who in your state blasted the city of Mumbai in 1993.
To organise some event in support of those people who symbolised that destruction or for that matter throwing up the idea of breaking this country into pieces.”
Insisting that “Nobody has anything against a particular student (Kanhaiya) who was arrested”, Jaitley said, “But then people have a right of free speech, but people don’t have a right of free speech to advocate the break up of this country. Therefore, where does the threat to unity and integrity and the country come.”
“I expect mainstream political parties like Congress to be in the forefront of being against these people. Please don’t do anything that lends respectability to such people,”he said. Jaitley said the high point of the debate is that issues of corruption and scams were not raised. “If members have to struggle to invvent an element of corruption it speaks volumes on how the environment in this country has changed.”