Dissent is being stifled, minorities feel insecure: Sonia
New Delhi: Mounting yet another attack on Modi government, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today said dissent is being stifled and minorities feel increasingly insecure.
Gandhi was speaking at a ceremony to honour eminent Editor Vinod Mehta, who passed away recently, with G K Reddy Memorial National award. The award was received by Mehta’s wife Sumita.
Addressing the gathering, which included former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Congress President said, “In the present climate when dissent is being stifled, when the minorities feel increasingly insecure, when the secular fabric of our society is threatened, when bigotry and obscurantism seem to flourish unchecked, we miss Vinod Mehta’s works.”
Gandhi has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of running a government “of some people, by one person, for a select few”.
Lauding Mehta’s integrity, honesty and commitment to values, she said, “He has never failed to raise his voice against religious intolerance, communal violence and social injustice.”
Calling Mehta a passionate upholder of our “democratic and secular ideas”, the Congress President said that he was also a courageous crusader of the causes that he believed were just and a proud and “eloquent advocate of our pluralistic society”.
She also quoted the late Editor as saying that politicians and journalists can never be friends and they were naturally adversaries. “But he would have been surprised that how many of us across the political spectrum looked to VM as a friend,” she said.
Gandhi said that Mehta had an instinctive understanding of what the freedom of the press meant “to our country, that it was a cornerstone of our democracy and without this freedom, all our other liberties would be threatened”.
The award carries a cheque of Rs 5 lakh, a gold medal and citation.
Mehta, a distinguished Editor and commentator who had successfully launched a number of newspapers and magazines, passed away in New Delhi on March 8 after prolonged illness.
He was 73.
Mehta, who was Editorial Chairman of ‘Outlook’ magazine which he had founded, also wrote the best selling autobiography ‘Lucknow Boy’ in 2011.
Born in Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan) in 1942, Mehta was known for his bold journalism.