Lucknow: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh allayed fears Saturday on any curb on democratic rights in the wake of the recent arrest of human rights activists, assuring “there will not be any effort to compress the pressure cooker”.
“I want to clarify that there will never be any effort to compress the pressure cooker. All have the right to speak, do whatever they want in democracy but no one will be allowed to destabilise the country or create violence,” Rajnath said.
Singh was answering a query on the Supreme Court’s comments that “Dissent is the safety valve of democracy. If you don’t allow the safety valve pressure cooker will burst”.
The apex court had said this while hearing a plea on the arrest of five activists under an anti-terror law on charges of indulging in Left wing extremism.
“Our government is committed to upholding democratic values, see the record of those arrested. In 2012, too many of them were arrested and at that time also similar allegations were raised,” he said.
“Any effort to destabilise any government, taking refuge in one’s ideology for promoting violence, conspiring to destabilise and break the country, I feel there cannot be a bigger crime than this,” he stressed.
Claiming that his government has been successful in checking Naxalism, he said the number of Left Wing Extremism affected districts has come down.
“Now they (Naxals) are adopting different measures, working in urban areas and influencing people with their ideology. They want to do violence in urban areas. I have got inputs from my agencies,” Singh said.
The home minister termed the Kashmir issue a chronic problem which will take time to be resolved. But it will be realised, he said.
He also wished success to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, expressing hope that he would perform well on the political turf as he had been doing on the cricket field.
“There is a new captain in Pakistan, he had been playing on the cricket field till now. Now he has to play on the political field. Let’s see how successful he is, we pray for his strength to succeed,” he said.
Replying to a question on the Khalistan agitation, the Union minister said it will not allowed to be revived. He said despite over 10 lakh Sikhs living in the UK, only 1,500 to 2,000 took part in the recent protest and not a single Sikh from India took part.
Singh was referring to a recent protest in support of a referendum for an independent Punjab. “The hand of Pakistan’s ISI has also come out in the open in this,” he said.
Talking about the unrest among the SCs/STs which led to some violent incidents in the country in the recent past, Singh said they were being checked. Downplaying the dissent in the NDA alliance, Singh said such a thing happens in every family.
“Even when 10 birds come together they do it, but my confidence is that the Shiv Sena will remain with us,” he stressed. Replying to a question on mob lynching, he said it was unfortunate and should not happen.
“But the biggest mob lynching took place in 1984,” he said in an apparent reference to the anti-Sikh riots. Singh said the government has taken the lynching incidents very seriously and a committee has been set up under the home secretary.
He said the committee has submitted a report only a day before yesterday on the measures required to check it. “The law will also be amended if required,” the minister said.
To a question on checks being imposed on social media, he said fake news, pornography and other things which are harmful for society will have to be checked and this is the responsibility of the government.