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Modi addresses Gujarati diaspora

india Updated: Aug 31, 2008 19:46 IST

IANS
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There can not be any compromise with the forces of terror and every Gujarati should send an email to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to pass the Gujarat anti-terror bill, which is awaiting presidential assent, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday.

Speaking extempore through video conferencing early on Sunday morning to participants at the 2nd World Gujarati Conference in New Jersey, US, Modi said, "There cannot be any compromise with the forces of terror; they deserve the response in the manner they act. We cannot allow the innocent citizens to become victims of terrorism. Unfortunately, the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Act (Gujcoc) Bill has not yet been passed by the centre."

He said the Gujarat assembly had passed the bill twice. It was sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan for presidential nod on April 1, 2003. An amended version too was sent a second time. "Yet the bill is now lying in cold storage," Modi lamented.

Highlighting the landmark achievements of his government on the economic front, Modi shared his heart and vision with the diaspora. He explained the progress on various fronts like education, human resource development and setting up of biogas units for poor families.

He invited Gujaratis to attend the Vibrant Gujarat Summit (investors meet) in 2009 and the state's golden jubilee fete in 2010 here. 2010 marks completion of 50 years of Gujarat's formation (Swarnim Gujarat).

He requested his audience to make at least one "Swarnim sankalp" (golden resolution) for Gujarat state. "Even if a boy makes a resolution that he will wash his hands before eating would be a golden sankalp as health of the children is the future wealth of the state," Modi said. He also called for food not to be wasted on the plate.

The conference began Friday at the Raritan Center in Edison, New Jersey, with colourful ceremonies and a keynote address by Columbia University Prof Jagdish Bhagwati.

With its large Gujarati population, the New Jersey celebrations were, however, overshadowed by the US State Department's reported move not to accept any request for visa from Modi following opposition from an organization called Coalition Against Genocide (CAG). With live video-conferencing at hand, Modi went ahead without the need for one.