Modi Urges India to Reject Religious Violence

By Balatokyo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Many perpetrators support BJP, the Prime Minister’s own party

Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister has urged his country’s citizens to reject religious violence on August 15, the Indian Independence Day. This was done after a number of attacks were done against minorities. The events sparked a debate whether the Hindu nationalism up swell could torpedo the nation's secular core. The speech was delivered from the Red Fort in Delhi. This was Modi's fourth Independence Day speech.

Prime Minister Modi in his speech listed a number of achievements supposedly made by his government, including the battle against corruption. His speech did not touch much upon India's foreign policy. China and Pakistan were not mentioned. The Indian army has set thousands of soldiers along the country's northern borders. India is now in a territorial dispute with China.

The Prime Minister spoke against the attacks done by Hindu extremists. These right wingers form the support base of his own party, the Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP as it is colloquially known. Much of this violence was directed against lower caste Hindus and the minority Muslims. Both the groups were accused of being cow killers. Many devout Hindus consider the cow as a holy animal and not to be consumed.

Modi said, “The poison of casteism and communalism can never benefit the country.” Adding, “This is the land of Gandhi and Buddha, we have to move forward taking everyone along. This is a part of our country’s culture and tradition. We have to successfully carry it forward, and that is why in the name of faith, violence cannot be allowed. The path of violence in the name of faith can never succeed in this country. The country will never accept this.” 

It was a significant development that Modi denounced right wing violence. The Indian Prime Minister asserted that violence will not be tolerated by his government in faith's name. The speech was broadcast live on television screens to millions of Indians and directly to a huge audience sitting in the venue itself. The PM reminded them of the progress India has made from the time it threw off its British shackles in 1947. He, however, also expressed his pain concerning the death of a large number of children in Gorakhpur, a city located in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The incident was a cold reminder that much remains to be done if India wants to continue on its present rapid pace of development.


Follow the Conversation on Twitter