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Don't judge government by what Hindutva outfits say or do: Minister Ram Vilas Paswan (IANS Interview)
New Delhi, May 28 - Activities of "gau rakshaks" (cow vigilantes) or views of Hindutva organisations like the RSS should not be taken as the policy of the Narendra Modi government for whom the Constitution is Bible, says Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
If one has to analyse the performance of the Modi government, then it has to be done on the basis of what it has achieved and not by "elements and atmospherics outside", Paswan told IANS over telephone from London in a chat on three years of the government.
Paswan, who is London for a medical check-up relating to a problem of occasional breathlessness, has dismissed criticism by detractors that the Muslim community has been pushed to the status of second-class citizens.
"Muslims have faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi because he has said the only religion for him is the Constitution which provides for equality and a life of honour and dignity for all communities irrespective of the religion.
"Modi talks only of development. He never talks of religion, article 370, Babri masjid or Ram janambhumi," Paswan added.
Even on triple talaq, the government has said that it will only implement what the Supreme Court would say in its judgment. "We have only said that we will protect the rights of Muslim women in consonance with what the court says in its judgment."
Asked about the activities of Hindutva fringe elements like the gau rakshaks, who were involved in incidents in which people have been killed for allegedly transporting cows for slaughter, the minister demanded that the state governments act tough against such elements "who break the law in the name of cow protection."
He said that the Centre has made it clear that there will be no goondaism allowed in the name of gau rakshaks.
To a question about views of organisations like he RSS and other outfits on sensitive issues, Paswan said if RSS says something in accordance with its policies then it does not mean they are the policies of the government.
"Even my own party, Lok Jansakti Party, has got its own manifesto and views on issues like Dalits, Muslims and backward classes. Everyone has the right to say what he wants to say. But what is important is what the government does.
"The Modi government has not said or done anything that can be called as discrimination against one religion or community," he asserted.
Paswan maintained that the last three years have been a golden era for the country with Modi providing decisive leadership which has rescued the economy and brought back macro-economic stability.
"In Britain whoever you talk to has only admiration and respect for the Indian government. Modi has been described as bold leader who is prepared to take risks like the demonetisation undertaken last year," he said.
Paswan, whose portfolio of consumer affairs has been temporarily given to Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, plans to return home early next month after check-ups.
(V.S. Chandrasekar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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