New Delhi, Aug 20 : Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said that the country is witnessing unpleasant trends of growing intolerance, communal polarisation and growing incidents of violent crimes over the past few years.
Dr Singh also said that these are propelled by hatred of certain groups and mobs taking the law in their own hands and it will only damage the country's polity. Speaking at the event remembering former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 75th birth anniversary, organised by Rajiv Youth Foundation, Mr Singh warned that these trends are repugnant to the promotion of peace, national integration and communal harmony.
Recalling India's youngest Prime Minister's words, Dr 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."
"The values Rajiv ji lived by were essentially the values that define our nationhood - a broad secular outlook, the spirit of tolerance, commitment to communal harmony and empathy to others. Our 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", the former Prime Minister added.
Referring to Rajiv Gandhi's contribution as Prime Minister, Dr Singh further said that "he was the one who truly set the direction for equipping our nation for entering the new millennium with a progressive, modern and scientific outlook. Major strides in communication and information technology, in strengthening democracy at the grass roots level, in education, in ending decade old insurgency movement in Mizoram, in opening a fresh dialogue with China, in launching the technology missions, and in many other areas, have been the direct results of his vision and efforts, and have given us today a firm platform to launch further initiatives for growth and development".
Dr Singh also 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.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former president Pranab Mukherjee, former vice-president Hamid Ansari paid tributes to Rajiv Gandhi. Congress leaders-- former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, party president Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul, daughter Priyanka and other leaders, also remembered Rajiv on the occasion.
While Mr Modi took to Twitter to pay tributes, Dr Mukherjee, Dr Ansari, Dr Singh, Ms Gandhi, Rahul and daughter Priyanka and others assembled at Veerbhumi-- memorial of Rajiv Gandhi--to pay homage. "Tributes to our former PM Shri Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary," Mr Modi in a tweet said.