Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Saturday said a rift is being created between communities on account of "political opportunism".
Sen also lamented that the colonial practice of imprisoning people due to political reasons is still being continued, decades after India gained independence.
"There is an effort to divide Indians...create a rift in the co-existence of Hindus and Muslims on account of political opportunism," he said during a virtual address at the centenary celebration of 'Anandabazar Patrika'.
The first edition of the Bengali language daily, one of the largest newspapers in the country, was published on March 13, 1922 with Prafullakumar Sarkar as its founding-editor.
The newspaper, which had a decidedly nationalistic stance, was described at birth by the Englishman newspaper as "a new Bengali daily ... coloured (Red) like a danger signal."
Speaking of the early days, Sen said, "At that time (pre-independence period), several people in the country including relatives working for the Anandabazar Patrika were imprisoned for political reasons... I was very young then and while visiting them at jail, I often used to question whether this practice of incarcerating people without their committing any crime will ever stop."
"Subsequently, India became independent, but this exercise is still very much in existence," the 88-year-old celebrated economist said. He said that while independent India had made progress on many counts, issues such as poverty, health concerns remained and the newspaper had been highlighting these in an objective manner.
There is no doubt that efforts must be made to pursue the path of justice, he added.
Earlier this month, Sen had expressed concern over the current state of affairs in India, and said people should work towards maintaining unity.
"I think if someone asks me if I'm scared of something, I would say 'yes'. There is a reason to be afraid now. The current situation in the country has become a cause for fear," the Nobel laureate had said at the inauguration of Amartya Research Centre in Salt Lake in Kolkata.
The octogenarian had also stressed the need to stay united in line with the country's traditions.
"I want the country to be united. I don't want division in a country that was historically liberal. We have to work together," he said.