PM Narendra Modi reiterates his government's resolve not to tolerate violence in the name of faith after rioting by Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's followers left 36 dead
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reiterated his government’s resolve not to tolerate violence in the name of faith after rioting by ‘godman’ Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s followers left at least 36 dead and scores injured.
Two days after the Dera Sacha Sauda chief’s conviction on charges of raping two women sparked rioting, Modi also sent strong signals that there will be follow-up action.
“I had said it in my address at the Red Fort that violence in the name of faith will not be tolerated whether it is communal belief systems, following a particular political ideology, whether it is allegiance to a person or customs and traditions. No one has the right to take law in their hands in the name of faith," Modi said in his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat.
Indicating the government’s resolve to punish the perpetrators of such violence, Modi said every person will have to abide by the law, that the law will fix accountability and the guilty will be punished.
“Our Constitution has every provision for ensuring justice for each and every person. Those who take the law in their hands or take to violence, be it a person or a group, neither the country nor the government will tolerate it," he said.
Modi once again spoke about ‘New India’, having urged people in his last address to prepare a roadmap for a ‘New India’ in the next five years. Modi said that festivals, apart from being symbols of faith should also be transformed into symbols of cleanliness.
“Cleanliness should be inextricably linked to festivals," he said, urging people to build an environmental consciousness when it comes to celebrating festivals.
With the third anniversary of the central government’s flagship programme, Swachh Bharat Mission, slated to be marked on 2 October, Modi spoke about the achievements of the campaign.
“Toilets have been increased from 39% to almost 67% of the population. More than 230,000 villages have declared themselves open-defecation free," said the Prime Minister. He also called upon people to begin a campaign, Swachchata Hi Seva or Cleanliness is Service, at least 15-20 days prior to Gandhi Jayanti on 2 October.
Speaking about the financial inclusion scheme Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, which was launched on 28 August 2014, Modi said after three years those living on the fringes of society have now become a part of the mainstream economy. “Thirty crore new families have been linked to this scheme and bank accounts have been opened while almost Rs65,000 crore have been deposited in the banks by the underprivileged. This saving will empower them in the future," he said.
Analysts say that the PM has made efforts to condemn such incidents given his inclusive approach to governance.
“Narendra Modi has emerged as the singular leader, both, within the party as well as the government. He has assumed a personality bigger than what our previous prime ministers commanded and people expect him to speak out on issues however big or small they might be. Modi knows that undue silence only leads to confusion and hence he has spoken against such incidents from time to time," said A.K. Verma, a Kanpur-based political analyst and political science professor at Christ Church College.
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