Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu.
Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu today said there have been attempts to divide the country in the name of caste and religion in recent days and fringe elements must be eliminated and isolated from the society.
"A systematic, orchestrated malicious campaign is being done by the opponents to divide the country in the name of caste, religion and beliefs. The fringe elements in the country must be isolated and segregated," Naidu said addressing the inaugural ceremony of 'Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav' organised by the Union Culture Ministry in New Delhi.
Avoiding naming any particular incident, Mr Naidu said the incidents which have happened to "divide" the country must not be glorified on a global level but be condemned.
After incidents like killing of scholar MM Kalburgi in Karnataka and a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that he consumed beef, the country has witnessed a number of literary scholars and artists returning their awards in dissent to the "intolerance".
"Forgetting political differences, people of all religions, sects and regions must all work together. Cultural renaissance and unity are the need of the hour to bring the country together," the minister said.
He also added that the country should not link terrorism with any religion and instead focus on the diversity of the country which is unique in the world.
"Particularly in times like these, it is important to bring out the customs, cultures and the idea of unity in diversity which unites the country," he said.
Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma, who was also at the inaugural ceremony, pointed to the "unity in diversity" of India, which the festival aims to portray.
Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav, an eight-day-long festival, would showcase the culture, arts and crafts, cuisines of states from across the country.
The festival would feature around 150 art forms over the eight days with performances by more than 1,500 artists, 32 forms of paintings and 400 craftsmen.