Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday expressed concern over happenings in Haryana in which 36 people were killed following conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, saying violence in the name of faith will not be tolerated and the guilty definitely punished.
In his monthly “Mann ki Baat” programme on All India Radio, Modi called for a 15-day campaign ahead of Gandhi Jayanti to take message of “Cleanliness is service” to every home and said festivals should be transformed into symbols of cleanliness in the new India.
He greeted people on festivals of Samvatsari Parva, Ganesh Chaturthi, Onam and Eid-ul-Zuha.
Modi praised Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind for its contribution in the Gujarat flood relief, particularly for cleaning 22 temples and two mosques after the flood waters receded.
Beginning his speech by referring to the recent violence but did not naming any state, he said: “When on the one hand, a sense of festivity pervades the land, and on the other, news of violence comes in, from a part of the country, it is only natural of be concerned.
“I want to assure my countrymen that people who take law into their own hands and are on the path of violent suppression — whether it is a person or a group — neither this country nor any government will tolerate it. Each and every person will have to abide by the law; the law will fix accountability and the guilty will unquestionably be punished.”
“We have been hearing and saying ‘Ahimsa Parmo Dharmah’ (non-violence is supreme) since our childhood. In my address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, I had said that violence in the name of faith will not be tolerated, whether it is communal belief systems, whether it is subscribing to political ideologies, whether it is allegiance to a person or customs and traditions. No one has the right to take the law into one’s own hands in the name of one’s beliefs,” he said.
At least 30 persons were killed on Friday as security forces fired at rampaging mobs in Panchkula town in Haryana after a CBI court held Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh guilty of rape and sexual exploitation. Six people died in Sirsa, where the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters is located.
Modi said the campaign for cleanliness launched by his government will mark its third anniversary on the October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, and positive results were being seen.
Noting toilet coverage has increased from 39 percent of population to almost 67 percent and more than 2.3 lakh villages have declared themselves open defecation free, he called for “Swachchata Hi Sewa (Cleanliness is Service) campaign at least 15-20 days prior to Gandhi Jayanti.
He also urged the nation to begin the campaign of “teach to transform, educate to empower and learn to lead” on the occasion of Teachers Day on September 5, while paying tribute to former President S. Radhakrishan whose birth day it is celebrated on.
The Prime Minister said the number of listeners of “Mann Ki Baat” were in crores out of which lakhs of people write letters, send messages, and get their messages recorded on phone and the monthly programme was a great opportunity for him to understand people.
Referring to National Sports Day on August 29, Modi said “sports should become part of our lives”, advising the younger generation that “playing field is more important than play station (video game).”
“If we are a young nation, our youth should get manifested in the field sports as well. Sports means physical fitness, mental alertness and personality enhancement. What else does one need?”
He also urged people not to bargain over petty amounts with small shopkeepers and vendors and auto-rickshaw drivers.
The Prime Minister also said that the nation is proud of the six Indian Navy women officers who will embark next month on a mission to circumnavigate the globe.