India's Vice President Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari talks as he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping (not in picture) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Wang Zhao/Pool (CHINA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3WF7I
In his last interview before stepping down as Vice-President after ten years in office, Hamid Ansari said that the Muslim community in India is experiencing an "unease" and "insecurity" owing to a "dominant ideology" created by some groups.
Speaking to Karan Thapar on Rajya Sabha TV, Ansari said that intolerance is growing in India. He added that the inability to contain the acts of cow vigilantism, mob lynchings, beef bans and the 'ghar wapsi' campaign can be attributed to a "breakdown of Indian values" and a "breakdown of the ability of the authority" to enforce law and order in the country.
Stating that pluralism in India is "under threat", he said: "This propensity to be able to assert your nationalism day in and day out is unnecessary. I am an Indian and that is it".
Ansari's pointed remarks come at the end of a tenure that has been largely devoid of controversy. However, he has ruffled feathers on a couple of occasions:
No Salute for National Flag
On Republic Day in 2015, Hamid Ansari was the only dignitary who did not salute the national flag when it was hoisted during the celebrations at Rajpath in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
As per Indian law, only the President of India must salute the flag and all others must stand in attention. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar were seen saluting the flag.
Hamid Ansari, although not compelled by law to salute the tricolour, received flak for not following Modi and Parrikar.
Absence at Yoga Day functions
After the United Nations declared June 21 as International Yoga Day,many countries worldwide celebrated it in 2015.
Since the day got the recognition largely thanks Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts, yoga day was celebrated with grandeur. President Pranab Mukherjee had held a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan which saw the presence of many ministers.
Ansari did not attend the function on Yoga Day nor did he host one of his own. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav publicly criticised him, questioning the Vice-President's absence from the celebration.
However, Hamid Ansari later issued a statement saying that he was never invited to the function.
Hasty Rajya Sabha adjournment
Ansari was heavily criticised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for abruptly adjourning the Rajya Sabha on December 30, 2011. In the wake of the Anna Hazare movement, the Jan Lokpal Bill was being discussed and debated in the Rajya Sabha on the last day of the Winter Session. Hamid Ansari had adjourned the house at midnight while the debates were still on and the voting hadn't taken place.
BJP had alleged that Ansari had come to the rescue of the ruling UPA government as the treasury benches were likely to lose.