Jaitley says acts of vandalism disturbing; Congress demands action

New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said differences should be conveyed in a “restrained manner” and publicity of acts of vandalism was “disturbing” as it encourages others to follow suit while the opposition Congress called for tangible action against those resorting to such measures.

Jaitley’s comments came after the recent spate of incidents of violence against Muslims across the country over rumours of consuming beef.

“It is possible that in a big country like India that there are divergent views. But there has to be a proper way of discussing and debating these views,” he said at a press conference here.

Jaitley said that the “level of debate must be raised” rather than the use of vandalism.

“We all have to convey differences in a restrained manner..,” he said.

“It is disturbing when these acts of vandalism are increasingly publicised. People are encouraged to use similar methods,” he said.

The minister said everyone should be careful on statements on sensitive issues like relationship between communities.

Jaitley said there are some “sensitive issues” such as “the relationship between communities, Jammu and Kashmir and neighbouring countries. “Everyone should be careful.”

He claimed no member of the Bharatiya Janata Party “resorted to such methods”.

“The party president has strongly taken it up. The prime minister conveyed his views, all of them have been spoken,” he added, referring to party chief Amit Shah, on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pulling up party leaders and parliament members for making controversial statements over beef consumption.

Reacting to Jaitley’s criticism of vandalism, former union minister and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma called for “tangible action against elements, organisations and forces who have smashed India’s name in the international community”.

“Those who have a divergent viewpoint from the ruling establishment or the BJP, the RSS and Sangh Parivar are targets of direct attacks,” he alleged.

“Even eminent Indians who have protested have not been heard but they have been humiliated.”

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