Monday, Nov 24, 2014

Sonia Gandhi cautions against forces weakening secular ethos

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. (File photo: PTI) UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. (File photo: PTI)
Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Posted: January 29, 2014 1:23 pm

Cautioning people against forces weakening the country’s secular ethos, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday said communal harmony should not be disturbed over small, local incidents which should be dealt with sternly without any bias.

She also expressed hope that the Communal Violence Bill would soon be tabled in Parliament, saying it is aimed at protecting social amity and the nation’s secular legacy.

Apparently referring to the Muzaffarnagar riots, the Congress President said police should ensure that communal harmony is not disturbed over small, local incidents and they should be dealt with sternly without any bias.

“It is the government’s responsibility to protect and encourage secular values and ensure that minorities get equal opportunities. It is necessary that minorities feel secure and have trust in law and order mechanism. We should be cautious of powers which weaken India’s secularism,” she said.

She was speaking at the inauguration of National Waqf Development Corporation, which seeks to develop waqf properties for the welfare of Muslims.

The Corporation fulfils yet another promise of the UPA, she noted.

The cabinet, she said, had already given its nod to the Communal Violence Bill. “I am hopeful that it would be tabled in Parliament soon,” Gandhi said.

The UPA government was committed to the development of minorities and the amount of money spent on schemes aimed at
their welfare has risen ten-fold in the last 10 years, she observed.

She, however, cautioned the government that only good schemes are not enough and their effective execution is the
key.

“I want to stress that effective execution of schemes is also very necessary. The ground reality is that sometime the benefits of these projects do not reach the targeted people.

That is why it is necessary to put in a strong mechanism to deal with complaints,” she said.

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