Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday he won’t tolerate any discrimination or violence against any community and called anti-minority comments by some Sangh Parivar leaders “unfortunate” and “uncalled for”, in his strongest response yet on growing incidents of hate speeches.
“Our Constitution guarantees religious freedom to every citizen and that is not negotiable. I have said this before and I say it again: any discrimination or violence against any community will not be tolerated,'' Modi said in an interview to United New of India (UNI).
When asked how he would rein in party leaders spewing hatred, Modi said his government stood for every Indian regardless of caste or creed and would work for the progress of every one of them. ''Every faith in our country has equal rights; it is equal not only before the law but also before society," he said.
“My government’s focus has been on governance and development. Our focal point is clear: Vikas, Vikas, Vikas; jobs, jobs, jobs.”
The PM was under fire over his silence regarding the controversial ghar-wapsi conversion programmes and allegations of religious persecution but broke his silence in February in an unequivocal condemnation of religious violence following a series of attacks on Christian properties in Delhi.
“My government will ensure that there is complete freedom of faith and that everyone has the undeniable right to retain or adopt the religion of his or her choice without coercion or undue influence,” Modi had said in February at a Christian event.
Analysts have warned a spate of hate speeches by members of the BJP as well as RSS and Sangh Parivar threaten to distract from the PM’s development agenda and give the Opposition, especially the Congress, a handle to stall Parliament.
In the interview to UNI, the PM also dismissed accusations of being anti-poor, saying his government had succeeded in ushering in the poll promise of 'achche din (good days) during its one year in office. “Good days have arrived but some people are trying to belittle the work done by us," he said.
Modi defended his government on a controversial land acquisition bill that the Opposition has called anti-farmer, saying such criticism was politically motivated and that the NDA had corrected serious flaws in the UPA-era legislation. ''Our bill focuses on benefitting the farmers and balancing the long-term interests of the nation,'' he said.
The PM also attacked the Congress, saying everybody knew where the country stood after 60 years of governance by the party. ''They (Congress) have been sustaining their politics only in the name of poor but what have they actually done?" he asked.
He alleged large-scale corruption at various levels of government gave rise to scandals on a regular basis when the UPA was in power. ''Our precious natural resources were going into the hands of a chosen few.' There was policy paralysis in the government and the country was despondent and disappointed. We have given a clean, transparent and efficient government,” he said.
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