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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Shun violence; don’t bloody our land, help green it: PM

HT Correspondent  New Delhi, August 16, 2014
First Published: 00:27 IST(16/8/2014) | Last Updated: 01:36 IST(16/8/2014)

In a sign of the importance he places on political order, peace and stability, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for an end to the strife and violence that emanates from casteism, communalism and terrorism for the next ten years.

To underline his message, the PM weaved together three elements including appeals to parents of those who had taken to violence, examples of peaceful transformation and the need to look forward.

In a personal appeal, Modi reached out to all those who had adopted the armed path to achieve their goals. “They may be Maoists, they may be terrorists, but those who have picked the gun and are killing innocents are also sons. I want to ask their parents, did your son ask you before taking to this path? Each parent must take responsibility.” These men, he argued, had not been able to do any good for themselves, for their families, and for their country. “I want to tell these young people that India must have given you something for you to have reached where you are; your parents must have given you something. Drop the gun, and pick the plough; instead of bloodying the earth, help green it,” he pleaded.

Reflecting on his Nepal visit earlier this month, Modi said that young people who had adopted the path of violence in the neighbouring country were now waiting for a constitution. “Nepal is an exemplary example of leaving weapons (shastra) for texts (sashtra). It is an inspiration for the youth of the world who have taken to violence to return. And if the land of Buddha, Nepal, can give this message, why can’t India give the message?” The PM also went back to the times of Emperor Ashok who gave up ‘yuddha’, war, and embraced ‘Buddha’, as a marker of peace.

In this backdrop, the PM spoke of the continuous and persistent communal tensions that India has been undergoing. “Even after independence, there was sometimes the poison of casteism, sometime the poison of communalism. How long will this continue?” There have been enough battles, enough people have been maimed and killed, he said. “Look back, no one has got anything from this...the poison of casteism, communalism, terrorism, the hierarchies are all obstacles in the country’s progress.” Let us make up our minds that for ten years there will be a ‘moratorium’ to create a society free of such tensions, he added. “Just see how much strength peace, unity, goodwill and fraternity will give us to move ahead.”

Modi’s political message could have implications for the ways in which India deals with insurgencies as it underlines the government’s openness to political engagement if the path of violence is dropped. The message is also an effort to directly reach out to both organisers and foot-soldiers of such movements to review their approach. But above all, it is a reflection of Modi’s understanding — as the holder of the highest executive office — that stability and order are central for growth.


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