Underlining that citizens should “foil every separatist attempt to divide”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday appealed to those seeking solutions through violence to “return to the mainstream” and have faith that issues can be resolved peacefully.
At the first Mann Ki Baat progamme this year, Modi said: “On the solemn occasion of Republic Day, I would appeal to anyone in any part of the country, who is still seeking solutions to problems through violence and weapons, to return to the mainstream. They should have faith in their own capabilities and the capabilities of this country to resolve issues peacefully.”
Pointing that this is the “era of knowledge, science and democracy”, he said: “Have you ever heard of a place where life has turned better due to violence? Have you ever heard of a place where peace and goodwill have been impediments in the quest of a good life? Violence never resolves any issue. No problem in the world can be solved by creating another problem. It can only be solved by seeking an optimal solution. Come, let’s together forge a new India, where every issue is resolved on a platform of peace. Solidarity should be the key to resolving every issue. And brotherhood should foil every separatist attempt to divide us.”
The Prime Minister’s comments come amid month-long protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir where a shutdown is yet to be fully lifted following the abrogation of Article 370 last year.
Modi, meanwhile, referred to the Northeast and said that one of the main reasons why insurgency has come down is that issues are being resolved through peaceful dialogue.
He said that Assam, which hosted the Khelo India Games, was witness to “another great achievement” when “a few days ago, 644 militants pertaining to eight different militant groups, surrendered with their weapons”.
“Those who had strayed towards the path of violence have expressed their faith in peace and decided to become a partner in the country’s progress and return to the mainstream. Last year, in Tripura as well, more than 80 people left the path of violence and returned to the mainstream,” Modi said.
“Those who had picked up weapons, thinking that violence could solve problems, now firmly believe that the only way to solve any dispute is peace and togetherness. Countrymen will be thrilled to know that insurgency in the North-East has considerably reduced. And the biggest reason for that is that every issue of this region is being honestly and peacefully solved through dialogue,” he said.
The Prime Minister also referred to the Bru agreement to end an over-two-decade-old refugee crisis in Mizoram.
“In 1997, ethnic tension forced the Bru-Reang tribe to leave Mizoram and take refuge in Tripura. These refugees were kept in temporary camps in Kanchanpur in North Tripura. It’s painful that the Bru-Reang community lost a significant part of their life as refugees. Life in camps meant that they were deprived of all basic amenities. For 23 years — no home, no land, no medical treatment for their families, no education facilities for their children,” he said.
Modi said several governments found no cure to the problem and the pain of the refugees, and appreciated the faith of the refugees in the Constitution.
“It’s a result of that belief that their life is on the threshold of a new dawn today. As per the agreement, the path to a dignified life has been opened for them. Finally, the new decade of 2020 has brought a new ray of hope in the life of the Bru-Reang community,” he said.
Explaining the benefits of the agreement, the Prime Minister said, “Around 34,000 Bru refugees will be rehabilitated in Tripura. Not just that, the government will provide an assistance of close to Rs 600 crore for their rehabilitation and all-round development. Each displaced family will be provided a plot of land. They will be assisted in the construction of a house. In addition, rations will be provided to them. They will now be able to benefit from the public welfare schemes of the state and central governments.”
Prime Minister termed this agreement as special, as it symbolises the spirit of cooperative federalism. “This agreement also epitomises the inherent compassion and sensitivity of Indian culture,” he said.
During the almost half-an-hour-long episode, the Prime Minister also recalled the various slogans and resolutions in the past editions and praised the idea of a “Mann ki Baat charter”, which will compile all ideas generated during the programme.
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