Seven years and two decades after the Rajiv Gandhi government banned Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel ‘The Satanic Verses’, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said that the banning of the book was “wrong”.

Chidambaram, who served as the Minister of State for Home Affairs from 1986-89 under Rajiv Gandhi, also stated to the media that Indira Gandhi, in 1980, admitted her mistake over the imposition of the Emergency.

“I have no hesitation in saying that the ban on Salman Rushdie’s book was wrong,” Chidambaram told the press at the Times Litfest.

Asked about why it had taken so many years for him to reach to this conclusion, Chidambaram replied, “If you had asked me 20 years ago, I would have told you the same thing.”

Addressing the issue of growing intolerance in the country, he said, “It is on the rise”. The former Finance Minister expressed his hope that “this moral majoritarianism” will eventually fail.

“What is of profound concern to me is the apparent rise of intolerance. Khap panchayats today are more visible and more brazen in dispensing Kangaroo justice. There is rush of bans. Ban jeans, ban authors, ban food, ban artist, ban travel, ban NGO,” he said.

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