Pointing out that intolerance in the country is on the rise, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said people must respect each other as showing tolerance was the need of the hour.
“At a time when intolerance is on a rise, I will pray to Jesus Christ to show us the way, to give us the strength to stay united and one. We pray to Jesus for peace, progress, prosperity, development, mental peace,” Mamata said at the inaugural function of the Kolkata Christmas festival at Allen Park in Park Street Wednesday evening.
“We must have tolerance. Everybody must respect each other. It maybe that somebody may not choose something or like something. But I cannot disrespect anyone and nobody can disrespect me. It should be a two-way process,” she said.
Mamata was accompanied with Trinamool Congress leaders such as Sovan Chatterjee, Bratya Basu, Subrata Bakshi and Derek O’ Brien on the dais along with other government officials and many religious leaders.
Wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, 2016 in advance, Mamata said, “India is a vast country with different caste and creed staying together. But, we are one because our unity is our strength.”
She added: “I always go to the church on Christmas eve, just like I pray during Eid and Durga Puja. We are not going to live for ever so why not live in peace and harmony and in a united fashion.”
Mamata even spoke on the importance of mental peace and how peace can be attained if heavenly light dawned upon one’s life. “The stars had shown direction to the wise men who visited Jesus Christ on his birth. Today, at a time of prevailing intolerance, may Christ show the path to everyone. Everyone should be shown the light,” she said.
The Christmas festival was started by the TMC-led government two years ago during which, the entire stretch of Park Street from Mullick Bazar till Chowringhee crossing is lit up. “The lights will be there till January 10 and the food carnival with roadside stalls of delicacies would be there till January 7. I felt there had been fewer lights last year and so this time I had asked them to extend it till St Paul’s Cathedral. On the evening of December 25, there will be no traffic on this stretch of Park Street and everyone will enjoy the walk,” the CM said.