New Delhi: A group of writers, academicians and artists today came out in support of Narendra Modi government and dismissed the protests over alleged rising intolerance as "much ado" about the declining clout of a "pampered section" which was now targeting the Prime Minister.
Hitting out at the intellectuals attacking the Centre over "the climate of intolerance", they said a section of nation's intelligentsia was dismayed by Narendra Modi's victory in the Lok Sabha polls and "failure in the elections is now sought to be avenged by other means".
Indian Council for Cultural Relations President Lokesh Chandra, author S L Bhyrappa, Kapil Kapoor, former pro-vice chancellor, JNU, Dilip K Chakrabarti, professor emeritus University of Cambridge and ICHR member and K Gopinath of IISC are among 36 intellectuals who lent their support to the BJP-led government in a statement and lashed out at the protesters.
Many of them have been sympathetic to Modi and have spoken in his favour earlier too.
"India has witnessed a curious spectacle these last few weeks. A section of the nation's intelligentsia has expressed outrage at a perceived mounting intolerance in society. In the forefront are the usual pallbearers of Indic civilization - Congressmen of various hues, Marxists, Leninists, even a handful of Maoists.
"The target is clear and explicitly stated, none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who much to their dismay led his party to a clear majority in Parliament. Failure in the elections is now sought to be avenged by other means; it helps if the media (or sections of it) serve as cheerleaders," they alleged.
Referring to the criticism of the government over the attacks on churches soon after Modi was sworn in, they said an initial joust was witnessed in accusations of attacks on Christian places of worship. "It fizzled out when the actual culprits were nabbed."
They said the central government cannot be blamed for incidents like Dadri lynching. They said murders of rationalist N Dabholkar and Kannada scholar N N Kalburgi happened in Congress-ruled states.
The intellectuals said this same intelligentsia which was attacking the Modi government chose not to remember that there has been no justice for victims of the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984 and the farmers killed in Nandigram in 2007 under the Congress and Left governments respectively.
"All in all, the protests are much ado about the declining clout of a pampered section. We therefore urge the people of India, who have repeatedly demonstrated great sagacity and wisdom, to not be diverted by a false narrative, and to focus, as they have done and continue to do, on the vision and aim of achieving unity, progress, growth and on seeing India become a great nation under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," they said.
Taking strong objections to an Aligarh Muslim University scholar equating the RSS with ISIS, they called it "breathtaking" remark which embarrassed intellectuals from his own community.
Other signatories to the statement include Kerala poet and Sahitya Akademi awardee Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri, Karnataka poet Sumatheendra R Nadigt, ICHR member Purabi Roy, ICHR member Meenakshi Jain, Member ICHR and Santisree Pandit, of the University of Pune.
Their statement comes against the backdrop of a number of writers, authors and artistes returning their awards to protest against the "rising intolerance" and many others from various fields expressing concern over the issue.