He was delivering a lecture on the role of media in promoting secularism organized by Lokmat group of newspapers.
“We must not be a Hindu nationalist, or even Muslim, Sikh or Christian nationalists. We must all be Indian nationalists. India is a country of diverse people and could not be run for a single day without secularism,” Katju said while terming those dividing the country in name of caste or religion as anti-national.
When asked by reporters later whether his reference was to Modi, he refused comment. Katju did not spare the media too and said instead of attacking communalism, a section of media had become kar sewaks during the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation. “They became part of the incident instead of covering it. Although I would not like to name them,” he said.
Any of type of fundamentalism, be it Hindu or Muslim should be uprooted, said the former supreme court judge. “Look at the state of affairs in Pakistan. They wanted to have an Islamic state but it has turned into a Jurassic park. There are schisms between Punjab, Sindh or Balochistan provinces. Sometimes I feel it is not a country at all but just a creation of the British to divide Hindus and Muslims. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh should be reunite into one secular country,” said Katju.
He said the media has been demonizing Muslims and that has alienated the community from the mainstream.
“Whenever a bomb blast occurs, within a short time many TV channels start saying that an e-mail or SMS has come from some Muslim organization like Jaish-e-Mohammed or Indian Mujahideen claiming the responsibility. This demonizes the entire Muslim community. An e-mail or SMS can be sent by any mischievous element. In fact, 99% of people in all communities are generally good. Often an attempt is made to depict all Muslims as terrorist,” he said.
He termed Mughal King Akbar to the first secular leader who laid the foundation of modern India through his policy of universal tolerance. He was ahead of his times. However, even today most of the people in India were very backward, steeped in casteism and communalism and even vote on these basis, said Katju.