New Delhi: Union Minister Gen (retd) VK Singh and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Thursday appeared to stand on the same side of the unending row over “Padmaavat”. The union minister said freedom of expression did not give anyone the right to distort history while Digvijaya Singh went a step further to assert that films that hurt anybody’s sentiments should not be made.
“Freedom of expression does not allow license to distort history. So one can sit down with the protesters and sort this out. Why are they opposed to it. When things are not done through consensus/agreement, there can be trouble,” the former Army Chief, now a junior minister in the foreign ministry, said.
The Congress’ Digvijaya Singh, who is the middle of a six-month Narmada yatra, also waded into the controversy. “Anything made on any religion, caste, and history which is any different from what it is and if the sentiments of the people are hurt., then such films should not be made,” Mr Singh said.
The controversial remarks come just a day after protesters in Gurgaon crossed the line and hurled stones at a school bus in the city, triggering massive outrage against the violence and calls for a crackdown by the state governments on people involved in the violence.
But the two leaders – both from the Kshatriya community that has been up against the movie – quickly got some advice from Bihar’s ruling party Janata Dal (United), a member of the BJP-led national coalition.
“They are not just leaders of Kshatriya community but senior leaders of the country. Their statements should not lead to any misunderstanding,” KC Tyagi told NDTV in his message to the two leaders.
The two national parties, the Congress and the BJP, have been seen to be taking a soft stance on protests against the movie led by the Karni Sena, which commands influence on the Rajput vote-bank.
Assembly elections are slated to be held in Rajasthan later this year while two Lok Sabha constituencies – Ajmer and Alwar – are in the middle of campaigning and will vote on Monday.
After the violence against school students, some as young as four years, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had targeted the Manohar Lal Khattar government for letting the situation get out of hand in Gurgaon and blamed the “BJP’s use of hatred and violence” setting “our entire country on fire”.