In an exclusive interview to Network18's Group Editor-in-chief Rahul Joshi on October 17, Union Home Minister Amit Shah delved into a range of issues from India-China face-off to the BJP’s relations with its former allies - Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and the LJP in Bihar.
In an exclusive interview to Network18 Group Editor-in-chief Rahul Joshi on October 17, Union Home Minister Amit Shah delved into a range of issues from India-China face-off to the BJP’s relations with its former allies - Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) in Bihar.
Here are the key takeaways from the conversation
India-China LAC face-off
While reiterating that India will never cede “even an inch” of territory to China, the Home Minister said the Indian Army is always prepared for any eventuality. The remarks came days after Chinese President XI Jinping warned PLA troops to be prepared for war amid ongoing tensions with India in eastern Ladakh.
“Every nation is always ready (for war). That’s the purpose of maintaining armies – to respond to any form of aggression. I am not saying this in reference to any particular comments, but India’s defence forces are always ready,” Shah said, adding that militaries of both countries were talking to each other and the diplomatic channels of communication were open.
“But I will repeat the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We are on guard and no one can snatch even an inch of our territory from us,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi's renewed attack on the BJP government
Shah dismissed Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of the government on India-China tensions, saying his party (the Congress) and he had “no right” to point fingers on the issue.
“Rahul Gandhi never has any data to back his claims. He keeps making baseless statements. But the Congress has no right to make these statements,” Shah said.
Shah said the Congress leader should first give an account to the nation on how much territory his party ceded to China when it was in power. “I am talking about 1962 when his great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru was the PM,” he said.
The Hathras case
Shah backed UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath's decision to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the alleged rape and murder of a Dalit girl in Hathras. The Home Minister said the case was mishandled at the police station level and not at the level of the government.
“The government is not involved at the 'thana level', there are some officers at local level, and I think Yogi ji did the correct thing by forming an SIT. The team will thoroughly probe the matter and submit its report, based on which a strict action will be taken."
On the cremation of the victim’s body in the middle of the night, Shah said, "There is an SIT investigating the matter, some officials were also suspended and now the entire investigation is transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation. But no one should do politics over such issues.”
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s letter
Shah commented on the contentious letter written by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray questioning if the latter had turned secular. He said Koshyari could have chosen his words better.
“He (Governor) has made a passing reference, but I also believe that he (Governor) could have avoided the selection of those particular words,” Shah said.
Tanishq ad row
On the controversy created by the Tanishq advertisement that showed an inter-faith couple, Shah said such small incidents cannot break India's social harmony and that its roots are very strong.
“The roots of social harmony are very strong. There have been many such attacks on it. The British tried to break this harmony, later the Congress also tried the same,” Shah said.
The advertisement by the jewellery brand Tanishq that showed a Hindu woman married into a Muslim family getting ready for her baby shower was pulled down following a backlash on social media.
The Lok Janshakti Party's exit from NDA in Bihar
"As far as the coalition of the BJP, JDU, and the LJP is concerned, the LJP was offered a reasonable number of seats time and again by both the BJP and the JDU. There were also several negotiations held. I personally spoke to Chirag many times," he said.
Bihar is going to polls in three phases beginning October 28.
Sushant Singh Rajput death case
Shah said the BJP never wanted to make a political issue out of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
“Had it been given to the CBI earlier, it wouldn’t have become an issue. Doubts have been raised since day one. We didn’t pass the order, the Supreme Court did. I believe that be it Sushant Singh or anyone, there should be investigation in case of unnatural death,” he said. He said there shouldn’t be any media trial on such issues.
“If there is any lack in investigation or an attempt to sabotage the case then you’re free to question. It's the media's right and duty. But to stretch an issue for the sake of TRPs is not right,” he said.
He also commented on the alleged drugs nexus in Bollywood.“It’s a menace that should be eliminated as fast as possible. In the last 18-24 months, several decisions have been taken to curb the problem. I assure you that under Modi ji’s leadership it’s going to be very difficult for people who want to spread drugs. We are making some infrastructural changes and you’ll see changes in coming days. As far as Bollywood is concerned, it’s not wise to connect it to one sector,” he said.