Prime Minister, President stresses peace & harmony in I-Day address

Published 17 August 2009  |  
Addressing the nation on its 62nd Independence Day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for a "new era of cooperation and harmony" as India marches towards "a golden future".

Stating that people had rejected sectarian politics and have "chosen a political arrangement which is secular," the Prime Minister on Saturday promised to create "an environment of consensus and cooperation in the country."

In his annual address from the ramparts of Delhi's historic Red Fort, Dr. Singh asserted that his government would pay special attention to the welfare of minorities.

"We do not subscribe to the view that to take special care of the deprived sections of the society amounts to appeasement. In fact, we believe that it is our solemn duty to do so. Our government will give its full attention to the well-being of our brothers and sisters belonging to the minority communities," he said.

"We have started many schemes for the welfare of the minorities. These programmes will be taken forward," he added.

In the backdrop of growing communal violence in different parts of the country, the Prime Minister said, "A Bill to prevent communal violence has been introduced in Parliament and efforts will be made to convert it into a law as soon as possible."

On August 15, the entire nation celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour the country's freedom from British rule in 1947. All over the country, flag-hoisting ceremonies and parades were held to commemorate the event.

On the eve of Independence Day, President Pratibha Patil in her address to the nation said India should build its destiny on a culture of peace and harmony. She deplored terrorism and said it was the "very anti-thesis of peaceful coexistence and against the tenets of every religion and faith."

"It must be defeated in the interest of the collective goal of humankind to build peaceful societies and a peaceful world. We need to work together towards this end as humankind shares a common destiny," she stressed.

She urged people to fight against violence and extremism. "If we choose to be bound by the feelings of hatred, mistrust and apathy, we will never move forward. Therefore, let us build a strong, united and progressive India for us and our future generations, as also a peaceful world," Ms. Patil said.

"I call upon my brothers and sisters of every religion – whether they be Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Parsees and all others, to live together in harmony."

"If we have to progress, communal harmony is important. It is like the thread which holds together a garland of beautiful flowers made of different colours and fragrance," she said.

The President underlined the need to remember the weaker and vulnerable sections of society. "These sections of society need to be drawn into the national mainstream. They need to be given access to education, health and skill-building - the tools of empowerment," she said.



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