Days after a Delhi University student came under vicious attack on social media, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said India couldn’t afford the "intolerant" tag.
There should be "no room in India for the intolerant Indian", he said in Kochi.
Pranab MukherjeeIndia has been, since ancient times, a bastion of free thought, speech and expression. Our society has always been characterised by the open contestation of diverse schools of thought and debate as well as discussion.
"Freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution. There must be space for legitimate criticism and dissent," he added.
Mukherjee voiced his pain over the incidents involving Delhi University. Students, he said, should engage in discussion rather get into a conflict mode.
President Pranab Mukherjee on Gurmehar Kaur
The President said he does not consider a society or State to be civilised if its citizens' behaviour towards women is uncivilised.
“When we brutalise a woman, we wound the soul of our civilisation. Not only does our Constitution guarantee equal rights to women but our culture and tradition also celebrate the feminine as divine. Protection and safety of our women and children must be a nationwide priority,” he said.
The acid test of any society is its attitude towards women and children. India should not fail this test.