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Vice President Hamid Ansari completes his second five-year term as VP of the nation on Thursday, one day before M Venkaiah Naidu is to be sworn in as the new Vice President on Friday. On his last day in the esteemed role, in an interview, he put the Modi government under the scanner.
Ansari described a sense of unease and sense of insecurity among Muslims in the country, a threat to the ambiance of acceptance in the nation.
In the interview, Ansari referred to incidents of lynching and 'ghar wapsi' and killings of rationalists as a "breakdown of Indian values, breakdown of the ability of the authorities at different levels in different places to be able to enforce what should be normal law enforcing work and over all the very fact that Indianness of any citizen being questioned is a disturbing thought."
Regarding the Muslim community feeling apprehensive and insecure, Ansari said, "Yes it is a correct assessment, from all I hear from different quarters, the country; I heard the same thing in Bangalore, I have heard from other parts of the country, I hear more about in north India, there is a feeling of unease, a sense of insecurity is creeping in," he said.
He added that for India has been a plural society for centuries, and has lived in a certain 'ambiance of acceptance' which is now under threat.
Ansari also said that the insistence of actively asserting nationalism on a daily basis is "unnecessary".
"I am an Indian and that is it," he said.
The outgoing Vice President also spoke on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and said, "the problem has always been primarily a political problem. And it has to be addressed politically."
Agreeing that politicians are ducking the problem, Ansari said "That’s my impression. And I’m not the only one in the country...when young boys and girls come out on to the streets and throw stones day after day, week after week, and month after month, it's something to worry about because they are our children, they are our citizens."
"Something is obviously going wrong. What exactly, I am not the final word on it, but I think there are enough people in the country who are worried about it. Eminent people belonging to different political persuasions and their worry must be taken on board," Ansari said.