Modi tells Obama: Intolerance is global concern, vows to protect faith in India

Govt will not allow any religious group to incite hatred, says the prime minister at a function to celebrate beatification of two saints

GN Bureau | February 17, 2015


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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Tuesday replied to his friend Barack Obama and said “religious intolerance is a global concern”. US president Obama's had recently remarked on growing religious intolerance in India.

Speaking at a function held by the Syro-Malabar Church to celebrate beatification of Saints Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Euphrasia, Modi said, “my government will ensure that there is complete freedom of faith.”

Expressing concern over growing religious intolerance in the world, he said, “The world is increasingly witnessing division and hostility on religious lines. This has become a matter of global concern.”

“The ancient Indian plea of mutual respect for all faiths is now beginning to manifest in global discourse,” the PM added.

The prime minister said fanaticism won’t be tolerated. “My government stands for personal freedom. Religion is a personal choice.”          

“Everyone has the undeniable right to retain or adopt the religion of his or her choice without coercion or undue influence. Government will not allow any religious group, belonging to majority or minority to incite hatred against others overtly or covertly,” he said.

Quoting ancient Vedic texts, the prime minister said, “the tradition of welcoming, respecting and honouring all faiths is as old as India itself.”

“As Swami Vivekananda said - We believe not only in universal toleration but we accept all religions as true,” Modi said, adding that what the great saint said a century ago stands true even today.

 “I appeal to all religious groups to act with mutual respect as has been the tradition of India,” he added.

Reiterating his mantra ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, the PM said, “I have a vision of a modern India and I have embarked on a huge mission to convert that mission into a reality.”

Full text of the prime minister’s speech click here

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