Zero tolerance towards religious hatred, violence: Modi

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015,19:42 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Breaking his silence over incidents of  attack and vandalism at some religious places in India and  abroad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed concern  on rising trend of such incidents and strongly articulated  his government’s zero tolerance for such hatred and  violence.    Speaking at the celebration of elevation to Sainthood of Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Euphrasia at Vigyan Bhawan here, the Prime Minister assured the people of complete freedom of faith and appealed to them to strengthen the spirit of unity and harmony.
Expressing concern over increasing sectarianism, he said, The world is increasingly witnessing division and hostility on religious lines. This has become a matter of global concern.
In this context, the ancient Indian plea of mutual respect  for all faiths is now beginning to manifest in global discourse, he added.    This long felt need and urge for mutually respectful relations led to the interfaith conference on ‘Faith in Human Rights’ at the Hague on December 10, 2008, he said.
This was coincidentally also the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations.
Religious leaders representing every major world religion like Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Baha’i Faith, Buddhism, Islam, Taoism and indigenous religions met, discussed and  pledged to uphold the Universal Declaration and of freedom  of religion or belief, he added.    Mr Modi said, The world is at cross roads which, if not crossed properly, can throw us back to the dark days of bigotry, fanaticism and bloodshed.
This harmonious convergence among religions could not be achieved even when the world entered the third millennium. And now it has been. This shows that the rest of the world too is evolving along the lines of ancient India.    In an apparent reference to some incidents of vandalism and attack at some places in the country, Mr Modi said, Government would not allow any groups to incite hatred against each other; it would not tolerate violence against any religion.
‘Speaking for India, and for my government, I declare that  my government stands by every word of the above declaration, the Prime Minister said, adding, My government will ensure  that there is complete freedom of faith and that everyone has  the undeniable right to retain or adopt religion of his or her choice without coercion or undue influence.    My government will not allow any religious group, belonging to the majority or the minority, to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly..,.. Mine will be a government that gives equal respect to all religions.    Stressing on unity and harmony, Mr Modi said, Unity strengthens us…division weakens us…I sincerely request all Indians and all of you present here to support me in this huge task.    Reminding the people of rich Indian culture and heritage, the Prime Minister said, India is a land of Buddha and Gandhi, equal respect for all religion should be in the DNA of every citizen.    Eds: rest pick up suitably from earlier.