A Minister does not have authority to speak about eradicating a religion: Nirmala Sitharaman

The Ministers who have taken oath have to speak responsibly. They must not speak in a language that instigates violence, says the Finance Minister

September 16, 2023 09:03 pm | Updated 09:08 pm IST

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking at the 90th year valedictory celebrations of Society of Auditors in Chennai on Saturday.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking at the 90th year valedictory celebrations of Society of Auditors in Chennai on Saturday. | Photo Credit: SRINATH M

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said whatever maybe one’s ideology, as per the Constitution and after taking oath to public office, nobody, especially a Minister, has the authority to speak about eradicating a religion.

At the sidelines of an event in Chennai, she spoke to reporters on DMK youth wing leader and Minister of Youth Welfare and Sports Development Udhayanidhi Stalin’s recent remarks about Sanatana Dharma.

“Making such remarks in a public meeting is wrong. The HR&CE Minister was also present at the meeting. Later issuing a clarification on the remarks is not acceptable. The Ministers who have taken oath have to speak responsibly. They must not speak in a language that instigates violence,” Ms. Sitharaman said.

Santana Dharma also describes those opposing it and atheism, Ms. Sitharaman said. “I grew up in Tamil Nadu where the image of Lord Rama was beaten with chappals. Questions were asked if Lord Rama was an engineer. But the followers of Santana Dharma did not respond through violence despite being provoked. That is Santana Dharma,” she said and asked, “Do they have the spine to speak about other religions.”

Earlier, speaking at the 90th year valedictory celebrations of The Society of Auditors, she said chartered accountants should flag issues of tax evasion. The CAs should advise their clients not to evade tax, not divert the funds. “If you find instances of evasion just alert the authorities,” Ms. Sitharaman said.

She also pointed out that there was a hue and cry about the Enforcement Directorate being misused. “Standing in Tamil Nadu, I will explain to you in detail. Today through the power of using artificial intelligence you can go behind evaders. If the authorities and I, as a Minister, do not take action, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India will pull us up,” Ms. Sitharaman said.

Within just 10 years, the government had achieved what the previous governments could not do in the last 60 years in the digital public infrastructure domain. It was the World Bank which had stated this, she said. “We have a narrow window of next 25 years to make India a developed nation. Many professionals have to play a vital role in achieving that goal,” she said.

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