In the wake of protests by writers, artists, scientists and other groups against what they believe to be the rising tide of intolerance in India, Infosys founder NR Narayanamurthy said that there is considerable fear in the minds of minorities, adding that no country can make economic progress unless it removes strife and reassures its minorities.

He is the first prominent voice from Indian's business community to voice these concerns.

It isn't just religious minorities who are worried, he said during an NDTV discussion aired on Saturday, but also people from one region living in another part of the country.  He recalled the situation in 1967, when South Indians living in Mumbai were attacked by the Shiv Sena.

The first priority of the government, Murthy said, should be "to bring back the confidence, the energy, the enthusiasm, the trust in the minds of every Indian" that their rights and safety would be guaranteed.

Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, who was also on the show, said that the government would protect constitutional rights of all Indians with the full force of the law.

Shortly after the programme was aired, businesswoman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairman of  Biocon Ltd, tweeted her endorsement of Murthy's sentiments.