New Delhi, August 10: Former Vice-President Hamid Ansari lectured the Central government once again about the importance of Freedom of Speech. Without directly naming anyone, he stressed on the need to protect Parliamentary minority’s right to express dissent against the policies of the government. He made these comments in the farewell address in Rajya Sabha, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well. On Wednesday, he had said in an interview that religious minorities were feeling insecure in the country, a comment the ruling BJP has not taken kindly.

“As Dr. Radhakrishnan said ‘a democracy is distinguished by the protection it gives to minorities,” he said. He added that democracy was likely to degenerate into tyranny “if it doesn’t allow opposition groups to criticise fairly, freely and frankly policies of Government.”


Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a warm farewell to the outgoing Vice-President. He said that Ansari’s diplomatic insights were invaluable as he embarked on and returned from foreign tours. He said he got to know what a career diplomat was after meeting him. (Also read: Rajya Sabha Bids Farewell to Hamid Ansari, PM Modi Thanks Him For ‘Diplomatic Insights’)

“You belong to a great family that participated in the freedom movement. I have special regards, good wish from my side to you,” said Modi.

Meanwhile, the BJP has not taken Ansari’s farewell musings lightly. MP Meenakshi Lekhi launched a scathing attack saying he wanted to be the leader of Muslims. She said that he had such a big staff, why did he choose to talk about minority’s problems after demitting the office? She further said that she thought Ansari was a well-read person, but now she felt that he wasn’t reading too much recently.