Paris: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today assured minorities in India that rights and liberty of citizens of all faiths will be protected and equal place ensured for them, comments that come against the backdrop of anti-minority campaign by Hindutva elements.
In a speech at the UNESCO here, he emphasised his vision of inclusiveness and said cultures, traditions and religions should be used to overcome the rising tide of extremism, violence and divisions across the world. “We have built a modern state in an ancient land, with a timeless tradition of openness and co-existence and, a society of extraordinary diversity.
“We will defend and protect the rights and liberty of every citizen. We will ensure that every citizen of every faith, culture and creed has an equal place in our society; belief in her future; and the confidence to pursue it,” the Prime Minister said. Modi’s assurance assumes significance as there have been apprehensions among minorities following attacks on churches in some places and the ghar vapsi campaign of Sangh Parivar outfits.
The gathering included a large number of NRIs who shouted ‘Modi, Modi, Modi’ and ‘vande mataram’ to which he responded ‘Good, Good’. Observing that the strength of a nation is determined by the “joined hands of every citizen” and the “real progress is measured through empowerment of the weakest”, he said, “this has been our creed since we assumed office nearly a year ago”.
Modi underlined that “culture must connect, not divide, our world” and that it should be a bridge to greater respect and understanding between people.