Chandigarh – Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said atrocities against minorities and Dalits were increasing in the country and such incidents, if unchecked, could harm democracy and called for rejection of divisive policies and politics.’ Delivering the first S B Rangnekar Memorial lecture at the Panjab University, his alma mater, here, Singh also said a dangerous and false binary’ of choosing between freedom and development was surfacing in the country’s political discourse and that it must be rejected.“I need not dwell long on the current deep concern that attempts are being made to divide the Indian people on the basis of religion and caste, language and culture. Atrocities against minorities and Dalits are increasing. If unchecked, these tendencies can only harm our democracy. As a people, we must strongly reject divisive policies and politics,” he said.“It is the freedom of people, which, in turn is not the freedom only of its privileged and powerful, but the freedom of every Indian,” he said. “Freedom is, the freedom to question, the freedom to express one’s views, howsoever troubling they may be for others. The only constraint to freedom must be the freedom of others. In other words, the freedom of one person or a group should not be used to constrain the freedom of other individuals or groups,” he added. He stressed that without a firm commitment to this idea of freedom, democracy would not survive.
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