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Home > News > PTI

Gujarat riots hit secularism: Amartya Sen

August 01, 2003 20:07 IST

The Gujarat riots have 'hit' Indian secularism, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said in New Delhi on Friday.

"It has made minorities' position uncertain. I would not take consolation if it is worse elsewhere," Sen said.

Asked to comment on the killing of Hindus in Bangladesh, he said, "I am proud of being an Indian. I take pride in the country's greatness. Comparing the position of minorities with their condition in any other country will not be justified."

India's military expenditure is very high and affects key areas like healthcare and education, which require massive investment, according to him. Though India's per capita military expenditure is much lower than that of several countries, including Pakistan, the total budget is still very big, he added.

"You don't fight a war with per capita expenditure in mind. India's military expenditure is much more than of Pakistan. India's superiority in conventional weapons is another factor raising concerns over the matter in Islamabad," he said.

Asked what type of media ownership allows more press freedom, he cited the case of BBC, which despite being owned by the British government enjoys enough freedom.

"So the critical issue is competition. Large number of groups in any area of business would be okay," Sen said.

The Nobel laureate said India is the first poor country in the world to opt for democracy. "And we have been successful in maintaining this through thick and thin."

Lauding the Indian electorate, he noted that the Indira Gandhi government was removed after fundamental and democratic rights were suspended during the Emergency.

He said it is due to the greatness of the Indian democracy that Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani has agreed to discuss differences between them over issues of secularism and the Gujarat riots.

More reports from Gujarat
Read about: Gujarat Riots | Earthquake hits India

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Number of User Comments: 10

Sub: Riots hit secularism Discussion / debate Mr. Sen and Mr. Advani

When the debate actually happens , I would be really one of the most proud citizen of the country. Such discussion and free expression of ...

Posted by s k kar

Sub: Sen on secularism

Mr. Sen, I am Gujarati. You wrote about uncertainity of Muslims, But only God know how uncertain and fear I as Hindu , filling to ...

Posted by daxay

Sub: Conventional weapons??

India's conventional weapon superiority does not mean a thing to Pakistan. It has not stopped them from misadventures and it will not do so even ...

Posted by Shriram Natarajan

Sub: Mr Sen's outlandish interventions

Mr Sen's Nobel Prize, a result of political balancing act, does not give him right to say any thing and every thing without rhyme or ...

Posted by VeeRao

Sub: contridiction

"....Comparing the position of minorities with their condition in any other country will not be justified..." here Dr. Sen is not bothered about other contry.. ...

Posted by Vinay



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