- There is a sense of insecurity among Muslims, Hamid Ansari said earlier
- Venkaiah Naidu said such comments are 'political propaganda'
- Venkaiah Naidu to take over as Vice President of India from Hamid Ansari
Mr Ansari said there is a feeling of unease and a sense of insecurity among Muslims, and the "ambience of acceptance" is under threat. He also said he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers about "intolerance".
Mr Naidu, who quit the government and the ruling BJP after being named vice presidential candidate, did not name anyone but appeared to respond to those comments in an interview. "Some people are saying minorities are insecure. It is a political propaganda. Compared to the entire world, minorities are more safe and secure in India and they get their due," Mr Naidu told the Press Trust of India.
He also said the Indian society is the "most tolerant in the world" because of its people and civilisation.
"There is tolerance that is why democracy is so successful," he said.
Mr Naidu, who has been a BJP president in the past, cautioned against singling out one community, saying it would draw adverse reaction from other communities.
"If you single out one community, other communities will take it otherwise. That is why we say all are equal. Appeasement for none justice for all," the 68-year-old former union minister said.
History, he said, has proved that there is no discrimination against minorities.
"They (minorities) got in prominent positions including constitutional responsibilities because there is no discrimination, and also on account of their merit," he said.
Noting that India's uniqueness is its unity in diversity, he said "sarva dharm sadbhav" (communal harmony) and secularism is in the mind and blood of India.
"India is secular not because of political leaders but because of its people and civilisation," he said.
Mr Ansari's comments were seen to be linked to recent mob attacks in the name of cow protection, for which opposition parties have attacked the central government.
Asked about the attacks, Mr Naidu said "India is a huge country and there could be some stray occurrences, which are nothing but aberrations".
Mr Naidu commented that some people "blow such incidents out of proportion" for political considerations. Some go to the extent of "defaming" the county by raising such issues at international forum.