Union Minister General (Retired) VK Singh said the debate over inotelarnce in the nation was politically motivated and deliberatly generated ahead of the Bihar assembly polls by those who are "being paid with a lot of money".
"This particular debate (on intolerance) is no debate. It is the unnecessary creation of very imaginative minds who are being paid with a lot of money," Minister of State for External Affairs Singh told reporters at the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Los Angeles, PTI reported.
Referring to the Delhi Assembly elections in February this year, Singh said that the media covered a series of church attacks just ahead of the polls and created "a lot of hysteria". He alleged that a small incident of theft was portrayed as an attack on the community just to get votes.
"I do not want to comment on how Indian media works. And I will take you back about all the funny things that are being talked about intolerance... When the Delhi (Assembly) elections took place, suddenly we found a spate of articles and a lot of hysteria that was created that churches are being attacked, the Christian community is being isolated etc," he said.
"A small incidence of theft in a church was depicted as an attack on church. Why? Because there was somebody who was trying to garner the votes, and the media was playing the ball. Whether it was being paid or not paid, I do not know. That's a decision or opinion that you have to make," he added.
Singh said that "all the hoopla" over church attacks was gone once the Delhi election was over, adding the situation is the same now as the intolerance debate came to the fore just ahead of the Bihar elections.
"Same is (the case with) this intolerance debate. The moment Bihar elections are over everything is gone... All these people who were talking of intolerance and I would like you to put it down in your papers what happened when a Gandhian (Anna Hazare) in his 70s protesting against corruption was picked up in the middle of a night and put into Tihar (Jail). Which was the government in place at that time?" former Army chief questioned.
"Have these people got any moral authority to even speak anything. So lets not unnecessarily confuse ourselves with this that is happening and lesson is for the Indian media," he added.