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Millennium Post

Attacks on dalits and minorities should be dealt with firmly: Prez

Against the backdrop of attacks on Dalits and minorities, President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said these incidents should be dealt with “firmly”, calling the violence against “weaker sections” that militate against the national ethos as “aberrations”.

Coming down heavily on forces of intolerance, Mukherjee cautioned against “unmindful pursuit” of a divisive political agenda and polarising debates by groups and individuals, saying they lead to institutional “travesty” and constitutional “subversion”.

The President also made it clear that democracy was not just about exercising choice to elect government periodically. In his address to the nation on the eve of India’s 70th Independence Day--his fifth since assuming office, the President asked authorities and Institutions of State Power to adhere to the “Maryada”(dignity) in discharge of their duties as established in this ancient Indian ethos.

“In these four years, I also saw with, some disquiet, forces of divisiveness and intolerance trying to raise their ugly head. Attacks on weaker sections that militate against our national ethos are aberrations that need to be dealt with firmly,” he said.

The President said the collective wisdom of our society and our polity gave him the confidence that such forces will remain marginalised and India’s remarkable growth story will continue uninterrupted. 

“The great tree of liberty requires constant nourishment through the institutions of democracy. Disruptions, obstructionism and unmindful pursuit of a divisive political agenda by groups and individuals lead to nothing but institutional travesty and Constitutional subversion. Polarising debates only deepen the fault lines in public discourse,” he said.

Mukherjee said the Constitution has clearly defined the duties and responsibilities of every organ of the state. “It has established the ancient Indian ethos of “Maryada” as far as Authorities and Institutions of State power are concerned. The spirit of the Constitution has to be upheld by adherence to this “Maryada” by the functionaries in the discharge of their duties,” he said. The President said India will grow, only when all of India grows. “The excluded ones have to be included in the development process. The hurt and the alienated have to be brought back into the mainstream,” he added. 

The President said for all the challenges faced by the country, he has a great belief in our innate and inherent capacity as an ancient country whose soul and ‘jijivisha- the will to live and excel’ can never be suppressed.

“Various forces external as well as internal have tried to smother this soul of India over millennia but every time this soul has emerged more powerful and more glorious having neutralised, assimilated and incorporated every challenge that it faced,” he said.

Making a plea for promoting scientific temper and questioning unscientific beliefs, the President said, “We must learn to challenge the status quo and refuse to accept inefficiency and slipshod work. In a competitive environment, a sense of immediacy and some impatience is a necessary virtue. We often celebrate the achievements of our ancient past but it would be wrong to rest on our laurels. It is much more important to look to the future. It is time to join hands to cooperate, innovate and advance,” the President said.
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