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ET Awards: Bold steps putting India on track, not creating fear, says Home Minister

Speaking at the ET Awards for Corporate Excellence on Saturday evening, Shah said the government has shown the ability to take hard decisions that had become essential to lay the foundation for the long-term development of the country

ET Bureau|
Dec 02, 2019, 07.51 AM IST
MUMBAI: Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said the Narendra Modi government has delivered a corruption-free, responsive and decisive administration, and yet a wrong perception has been created that it’s vindictive and generates fear.

Speaking at the ET Awards for Corporate Excellence on Saturday evening, Shah said the government has shown the ability to take hard decisions that had become essential to lay the foundation for the long-term development of the country — be it acting against corruption, integrating the poor into India’s economic growth story through specific initiatives or bringing Kashmir to the national mainstream.

“This government has been run in the most transparent way. Even our opponents cannot allege a single case of corruption against us. If somebody says something, we will look into its merit and make efforts to improve,” Shah added.

He said recent anti-corruption actions by probe agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate and CBI against some companies and individuals, was an act of “detoxification” which was necessitated by the leniency shown towards corruption by the earlier dispensations. This should not create fear in the minds of those who have done no wrong.

“I want to say with clarity that there is no need for anybody to be afraid. Some events that took place between 2004 to 2014 — if you look at the banking and finance figures it will be obvious to you — were such where wrongs were done on a mass level. This action is being taken only to the extent required to set it right and to re-invigorate the system,” the home minister said.

The minister maintained that while these decisions were taken for the larger good, government’s opponents have created a “fear psychosis” that the regime believes in attacking those opposed to it.

“An atmosphere has been built. We will also have to make efforts to correct this atmosphere. But I definitely want to say that there is no need for anybody to be in fear. People speak out both in debates and in Parliament. Nobody has to be afraid. Nobody wants to scare. Neither has anything been done because of which if somebody speaks out the government has to worry,” he said.

He enumerated some of the steps taken by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman to check harassment by authorities, like e-assessment of tax payments and faceless refund of excess tax deposits.

“Some selected measures have definitely been taken in a limited way to restore some things but this phase (of raids, etc.) too, I feel, is over. Good times are ahead,” Shah said.

On the issue of restoring normalcy in Kashmir, the home minister said people have formed opinions without visiting the state. He insisted that most of the apprehensions created when Article 370 was withdrawn have been proved wrong.

“There was perception created in the past that Kashmir was somewhat different from the country. We took a bold decision. In Parliament, when I brought the Bill it was said that rivers of blood will flow, there will be a bloodbath, mass killings will have to be done, the situation will go out of hand. Nothing happened. Not a single person has been killed in police firing.”

Disclosing that there’s no curfew in any police zones of Kashmir, he said: “Without going to Kashmir, you cannot understand the situation there. My request to all of you is that you go to Kashmir on a three-day vacation with your family and you will come to know what the situation there is.”

The minister slammed Congress for raising the issue of political prisoners in Kashmir. “As far as keeping leaders in jail is concerned, in this very state Sheikh Abdullah was kept in jail for 11 years and 52 days by the Congress government. And they are asking us questions after just four months. Only 630 in jail, of which political prisoners are less than 112. This has been represented in a wrong way,” he said.

He emphasised that the Modi government does not support the views of BJP MP Pragya Thakur on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin and the top leadership condemned it inside and outside Parliament.

Replying to a question posed by industrialist Rahul Bajaj, Shah said, “Soon after Sadhvi Pragya made those comments, the senior leaders of BJP — I as party president and Rajnath Singh in Parliament — condemned it, took some steps against her and later she also apologised in Parliament… BJP and this government do not support any such statement. We strongly condemn it and we have not the slightest hesitation in saying this.”

On the question on lynching, he said it used to take place earlier and happens now as well. “Perhaps it happens less often now but that is not reported. It is also not right to say that no conviction has taken place as in several lynching cases, trials and convictions have been done. But this is not published by the media. If it is published, it will be good for us,” he said.
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