New Delhi: Opposition vice-presidential candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi on Thursday alleged that direct and indirect attacks are being made on freedom of belief, thought and speech and that a “new Partition of a psychological" nature is being sown in the minds of Indians.
He also said that there was a need to stop the “projectiles of communalism" in their tracks. Explaining the context in which his election is held, Gandhi, in a letter to the public, said that though the partition is now a thing of the past, yet a “new Partition of a psychological division is being sown in our minds and “we must stop the projectiles of communalism". The letter has been written for the common people, days after he sought a debate with NDA candidate Venkaiah Naidu on the role of the vice-president.
“Direct and indirect attacks are being made on democratic freedoms of belief, thought and speech. And institutions serving public causes feel a palpable pressure on them to conform where they wish to dissent, to be silent where they wish to speak up," he said in his letter. Gandhi also wrote, “When it comes to mutual trust, intolerance and bigotry have risen to an all-time high." He said six months from now will mark the 70th year of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and the wounds of Partition.
“That Partition is now a fact, the riots of 1946-47 a thing of the past. And yet a new partition is being sown in our minds, a psychological division... As the late philosopher Ramchandra Gandhi put it, the Mahatma, on his way to prayer, was not stopped by three bullets of hate. Rather, he stopped with his heart full of prayer, those three bullets in their track. We must stop the projectiles of communalism in their tracks," he said.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s grandson also said that the ideals of freedom, justice, equality, drawn from the goals and values of our great struggle for Independence in the 70th year of independent India, “have acquired a compelling urgency. They are facing challenges".
He asked, “We have to also ask ourselves: in the larger arena of free choices, how free are we? Are we free of fear? Are we free to choose our way of life, our forms of thought and expression? Are we free to tell the bully and the bull-dozer in high office or on the street corner, off?." He also asked whether one is free and able to “tell giant industries to not pollute our rivers, our air and not to dump their toxic waste in our environment".
He also described the two constitutional offices of the president and vice-president are the “fountain-heads of our Republic’s very life stream". Quoting the first vice-president of India, he said, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan entreated, “Look far ahead, be not short-sighted".
“Let us pledge ourselves to India’s greatness in freedom, justice and in an unbreakable inter-community bond, bringing us the gift of peace," he wrote.