A Society divided into touchables and untouchables; upper and lower (castes), cannot last, Modi said

On Independence Day Modi talks about terrorism PoK Maoism social justice
news Monday, August 15, 2016 - 11:34

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday came out openly in support of "freedom" for Balochistan and "Pakistan occupied Kashmir".

"I want to speak a bit about the people in Balochistan, Gilgit, Baltistan, and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir," the Prime Minister said in his Independence Day speech from the Red Fort. 

"The world is watching. People of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have thanked me a lot in the past few days," Modi said. "I am grateful to them."

He said the way people from these Pakistani regions "wished me well, gives me great joy".

Modi said last week that it was time for Islamabad to explain to the world "why it has been committing atrocities on people in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Balochistan".

Modi also hit out at Pakistan for supporting terrorism. This, he said, was in contrast to the way Indians reacted with sorrow when terrorists slaughtered school children in Peshawar.

"That is the nature of India. But on the other hand, look at those who glorify terrorists. What kind of people glorify terrorists? What kind of people celebrate when people are killed?"

He said was no place for violence and atrocity in the country and urged terrorists to return to the mainstream.

Maoism

Modi declared that the country won't tolerate violence and terrorism. "The nation will not bow to Maoism and terrorism," Modi said. "Those who have chosen the path of terrorism achieved nothing. Come to the mainstream and live a peaceful life. Violence never helps anyone."

He said that in all these years, "the motherland has become more red with blood, but those who walked the path of terrorism gained nothing".

"I want to tell those youths that this country will never tolerate violence. This country will not tolerate terrorism. I am telling those youths that there is time left, come back and join the mainstream. Realize your parents' aspirations. Lead a peaceful life. The path of violence has never benefited anyone," he said.

"If Indian democracy has to be strengthened, if the country's dreams are to be fulfilled, then violence will never be our path," Modi said.

Social justice

Economic progress is no guarantee to a strong society whose foundation is social justice, he said in his Independence Day address and asked the countrymen to work for social equality and justice.

He made it clear that social harmony is key to the nation's progress and all saints and personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and B R Ambedkar stressed on the need for treating everybody equally.

"We look at the social tension today. What message had saint Ramanuja Acharya given? He had said we should equally serve all followers of good, without any prejudice. Don't disrespect anybody for reason of his caste.

"What lord Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, saint Ramanajucharya, BR Ambedkar, all our holy scriptures saints and teachers have stressed is social unity. When society breaks, the empire disintegrates. When a society is divided into touchables and untouchables; upper and lower (castes), then such a society cannot last," he said.

Modi added that 'hota hai, chalta hai (it happens, it is ok)' attitude won't help in dealing with social problems. "These evils are centuries-old and will have to be tackled more sternly and sensitively. The governments and the society will have to work together to pull the society out of this conflict We together will have to fight these social ills," he said.

These comments come on a day when a several thousand people, mainly Dalits gathered in Una, to protest against the July 11 attack on four Dalit men in Gir Somnath district’s Mota Samadhiyala village.

"Only a strong society is guarantee to a strong India" and "only social justice can lead to a strong society", he said.

"Only economic freedom is no guarantee to a strong society. Social justice is our collective responsibility," he said, adding that Dalits, tribals and the disadvantaged will have to be taken together for the country's progress.

Modi also announced a 20% hike in the pension of freedom fighters.

"Pension for our freedom fighters will be increased by 20 per cent. So those who are receiving Rs 25,000 will now get Rs 30,000," Modi said. He also announced that museums would be established in different states to glorify the role of lesser-known tribal freedom fighters.

"Tribals played an important role in our freedom struggle. Our government is planning to open museums all over the country to glorify their role so that future generations can know about their sacrifices," Modi said.

The government, last August, on the 73rd anniversary of the Quit India Day also increased the pension for freedom fighters by hiking dearness relief by 218 %.

The present rate of pension is Rs 23,309 per month for political prisoners jailed in the Andamans, Rs 20,1291 for freedom fighters/spouses, Rs 4,770 for unmarried/unemployed daughters and Rs 10,064 for two spouses. The total number central freedom fighters pensioners as on January 1, 2015 is 35,900.

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