'Growing intolerance, communal polarisation will damage our polity': Manmohan attacks Modi government
The former PM said hate crimes against minorities are repugnant to the promotion of peace, national integration and communal harmony, which are cherished objectives enshrined in Constitution.
NEW DELHI: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said "unpleasant trends" of growing intolerance, communal polarisation, and incidents of violent crimes propelled by hatred of certain groups will damage our polity.
Remembering former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 75th birth anniversary, he said these trends are repugnant to the promotion of peace, national integration and communal harmony, which are cherished objectives enshrined in our Constitution.
"All of us need to reflect on how we can contribute to arresting these trends," he said.
Recalling Rajiv Gandhi's words, Singh said, "Nothing is more important than the unity and integrity of our nation. India is indivisible. Secularism is the bedrock of our nationhood. It implies more than tolerance. It involves an active effort for harmony."
"No religion preaches hatred and intolerance. Vested interests, both external and internal, are inciting and exploiting communal passions and violence to divide India," he said.
Singh said another cause for solemn reflection today is some "disturbing trends" that our country has been witnessing over past few years.
"These unpleasant trends of growing intolerance, communal polarisation, growing incidents of violent crimes propelled by hatred of certain groups and of mobs taking the law in their own hands can only damage our polity," the former prime minister said.
He was speaking at an event by the Rajiv Youth Foundation and presented the 'Rajiv Gandhi Janma Pancha Sapthathi Puraskar' to prominent personalities and organisations who have made valuable contributions to the society for the last one decade.
Manmohan paid tribute to Rajiv, along with former president Pranab Mukherjee, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, senior party leader Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at 'Veer Bhumi' in New Delhi.
A host of Congress leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, were also present at the prayer meeting.
Former vice president Hamid Ansari was also there.
An audio clip from one of Rajiv Gandhi speeches and the devotional song 'Vaishnava Jan To' were playing in the background.
Rahul Gandhi remembered his father as a patriot and a visionary whose far-sighted policies helped build India.
"Today we celebrate the 75th birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi ji, a patriot and a visionary, whose far-sighted policies helped build India.
"To me, he was a loving father who taught me never to hate, to forgive and to love all beings," he tweeted.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also tweeted, "From my father, I learned how to listen to people's stories and find a place in my heart for them no matter how contrary to mine they might be. #RajivGandhi75 #SadbhavanaDiwas."
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said the values Rajiv Gandhi lived and worked for were "essentially the values that define our nation-spirit of tolerance, commitment to progressive policies and empathy to others".
"On his 75th birth anniversary homage to Rajiv ji should not only be a remembrance of his extraordinary personality and contribution to nation-building - it should also be marked by a reaffirmation of our commitment to abide by these very values," he tweeted.
The Congress, while remembering the former prime minister, said his dream was to make India a formidable force in 21st century as he focused on technology, education and giving a voice to the disenfranchised.
"India's strength lies in its unity and diversity. As we remember Shri Rajiv Gandhi on his 75th birth anniversary, we must also remember that his words are now more relevant than ever. We must never allow communal madness to break the bond of unity among us all. #SadbhavanaDiwas," the Congress wrote on its official Twitter handle.
"Shri Rajiv Gandhi's dream was to make India a formidable force in the 21st century. He focused on technology, education & giving a voice to the disenfranchised. His vision & policies are the foundation upon which India thrived & for that he will always be revered," it said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also remembered Rajiv Gandhi.
"Tributes to our former PM Shri Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary," Modi tweeted To observe the day as 'Sadbhavana Diwas', the Congress has planned a host of events during the week.
The party will also organise a big event at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on Tuesday where the Congress president will speak.
A cultural programme will also being organised.
(With PTI Inputs)