Describing the deaths in the Muzaffarnagar communal riots as very sad,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said that only a small group of people were responsible for creating the trouble and that such divisive forces should be checked.
Singh said India is a country where diverse religions have flourished together for centuries and have enriched each other and its people have an overall secular outlook.
I believe it is only a very small group of people that is responsible for creating divisions amongst us. I also believe that it is the solemn duty of each one of us to resist these forces, he said at the National Communal Harmony Awards function here.
The PM said the function was organised in the backdrop of heightened communal tension in parts of the country. He said a discussion has been organised with other stakeholders during the National Integration Council on September 23.
These are very sad developments which should make us all reflect on our individual and collective obligations to promote goodwill and amity in our polity and society, he said.
President Pranab Mukhejee,who gave away the communal harmony awards,expressed concern over the recent incidents of communal clashes. Why is it that we do not learn the lessons from our own history but keep repeating the same tragic mistakes? he said,adding that the Constitution lays down the fundamental duty of every citizen to promote harmony and spirit of common brotherhood.
Vice-President Hamid Ansari also echoed the need to revisit the method of promoting harmony.
He said,Absence of harmony results in discord; discord disturbs social peace; absence of social peace impedes progress and development. Could there be a greater social sin? Should it not be placed high on the list of anti-national activities?
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said,Every citizen of our country has a right to live with his or her individual faith,yet keep the identity of being an Indian supreme and above all other considerations. Let us pledge to uphold this right.