Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Saturday said that those who have been at the helm of the country since Independence have not been able to take the country to the expected level of development and poverty alleviation.
The Home Minister said this while addressing a gathering at Kitahatu village, after meeting the descendants of the family of Birsa Munda, the legendary tribal icon of uprising against the British in Jharkhand, at his native village in Ulihatu, 67 km from Ranchi. This was part of Yaad Karo Kurbani programme of the Central government, which aims to identify and felicitate freedom fighters and martyrs, who fought for India’s freedom in different parts of the country.
“I am not standing here to get into allegations, counter-allegations; neither is this occasion. I am here to celebrate India’s independence. All the Prime Ministers, who have been at helm, have done something significant during their tenure and this couldn’t be forgotten,” said Singh.
The Home Minister then added: Phir bhi kehna hoga ki jitna Bharat ke paas jitna prakritik sansadhan, jitna manav sansadhan hai jis seema tak vikas ho sakta tha, jitni gareebi ka samadhan ho sakta tha, utna nahin ho paaya hai. humara, hum sabka, sankalp hona chahiye ki desh duniya k ek viksit deshon mein gina jaaye (But this has to be said that, with the natural resources, the human resources India has the extent to which development should have happened, the extent to which poverty should have been alleviated, has not happened yet we all should take a vow to take India among the developed nation of the world).
Hailing Birsa Munda as one of the greatest freedom fighters, Singh said: He was young and could have spent his days enjoying the life. But, he was determined to free his country. He also did not fall to the many temptations that the British tried to lure him into. He was told that, if he be converted to Christianity, the land of Mundas and Sardars taken away by the British would be returned to it. But he did not budge, said Singh. He added that the government would ensure that freedom fighters like Birsa Munda and several others find space in out history books, something that has not been done so far. He also inaugurated many development schemes, with a total worth of Rs 108 crore, in the area. This also included developing Birsa’s village and Dombari Buru — a landmark nearby of Birsa’s revolt — for tourism purposes.
Recalling his Pakistan visit for the SAARC meet recently, Singh reiterated that he had not gone to have lunch. The Minister said: I had decided not to go. But then, I began getting reports that the terrorist leaders were openly orchestrating protests against India and me. It was a matter for self-respect of the country. I decided that I would go and saw it for myself the amount of opposition that was visible on the road. From the helipad to the hotel, I saw such open protests of Hindustan murdabad, Rajnath Singh murdabad at four places, at least. And, when the host himself was nowhere to be seen, I came back and had lunch in India, he said.
Holding out a warning to the extremists, Singh said that violence would not be tolerated. Whoever is indulging in such activities should stop it. Otherwise, they will be forced to stop. It can’t go on like this, he said. He also praised his government for passing the compensatory forestation bill, commonly known as CAMPA, and the CAF (Compensatory Afforestation Fund) bill that would ensure development and preservation of nature hand-in-hand.
Sirf hariyali hee hariyali se kaam nahin chalne waala; lekin jitne ped kate utne lage (greenery alone would not help; but trees being cut should be replaced, he said.
Earlier, Singh, along with Das and several state ministers, met Sukh Ram Munda, Puran Prakash Purti and Baranabas Munda from the family of Birsa Munda at their native village, Ulihatu, 12 km from Kitahatu. Birsa, who did not marry, had two brothers. The eldest among the family are great grandsons of his two brothers.
Located deep into the naxal-affected district, the village has been on the radar of politicians, almost all of whom have visited it. Munda’s house has been turned into a memorial. A road-widening project passing along the village was expedited over the past couple of days to make the journey from Khunti to Ulihatu smoother. Singh, however, reached the village using a helicopter that landed a few kilometer from the village.
While one of the family members sought jobs for his three sons, the students of Birsa Avasiya Vidyalaya (Ulihatu) sought more teachers and facilities in the school and the village. Village head Rajon Munda said that the villagers were getting power bills for the past few months, even though they were not getting the supply.
Das announced on the occasion that the government would replace all 71 houses in the village with a pucca house; provision for power and clean drinking water in every house, besides a 100-bed hospital in the village. The work will begin from next week, he declared.