New Delhi, Nov 2: Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday asked what did the writers now protesting against intolerance do during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader also said that the Congress and the Left were "intolerant" of the people's mandate for Narendra Modi in last year's Lok Sabha election.
"Conscience keepers were silent during the Emergency, when judges were superseded, when fundamental rights were violated, when the constitution was amended to favour one individual and when thousands were sterilized forcibly and MPs were jailed," he said.
"Their silence was conspicuous during the mass exodus and genocide of Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir Valley. Now they are complaining of intolerance," he said.
Naidu accused the intellectuals now returning awards to denounce what they say is a culture of intolerance of having kept silent when thousands of Sikhs were killed after Indira Gandhi's assassination in 1984.
Naidu, a former BJP president, also took on the Congress leadership.
"The Congress talking about intolerance is like the devil quoting the scriptures," he told the media.
"I don't know who the advisers of the Congress are. They are meeting the president to talk about rising intolerance."