Mon, Oct 24, 2016 | updated 01:53 AM IST

Attacks on weaker sections need to be dealt with firmly, says President Mukherjee

Updated: Aug 14, 2016 20:09 IST

New Delhi, Aug. 14 (ANI): Taking a serious note of atrocities on weaker section, especially on Dalits and women, President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said attacks on weaker sections that militate against our national ethos are aberrations that need to be dealt with firmly.

"In these four years, I also saw with, some disquiet, forces of divisiveness and intolerance trying to raise their ugly head. Attacks on weaker sections that militate against our national ethos are aberrations that need to be dealt with firmly. Further, the safety and security that we provide to our women and children determines the well-being of the state and society. Every incident of violence against a woman or a child inflicts a wound on the soul of the civilisation. We cannot call ourselves a civilised society if we fail in this duty," said the President, while addressing the nation on the eve of 70th Independence Day.

Calling upon the international community to fight them "unconditionally and in one voice", President Mukherjee said the world has witnessed a spate of terror activities having their roots in radicalisation of people on the basis of religion and now posing a danger to the entire comity of nations.

"These forces, apart from killing innocent people in the name of religion, also threaten to disturb geopolitical divides, which could prove disastrous for world peace. The inhuman, mindless and barbaric modus operandi of such groups have been visible in France, Belgium, the United States, Nigeria, Kenya and closer home in Afghanistan and Bangladesh recently. These forces now pose a danger to the entire comity of nations. The world will have to fight them unconditionally and in one voice," he said.

Hailing the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill for the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST), the President said non-partisan and quality parliamentary deliberations in the just-concluded session of Parliament is reason enough to celebrate our democratic maturity.

"I have seen with some satisfaction a stable and progressive democracy in full play with peaceful transfer of power from one party to another, from one government to another, and from one generation to another. Notwithstanding the different hues of political thought, I have seen the ruling party and the opposition coming together in pursuit of national agenda of development, unity, integrity and security of the nation."

Stating that democracy is more than a periodic exercise of choices to elect the government, the President said, "The great tree of liberty requires constant nourishment through the institutions of democracy. Disruptions, obstructionism and un-mindful pursuit of a divisive political agenda by groups and individuals lead to nothing but institutional travesty and Constitutional subversion. Polarising debates only deepen the fault lines in public discourse."

He said the Constitution has clearly defined the duties and responsibilities of every organ of the state and has established the ancient Indian ethos of "Maryada" as far as Authorities and Institutions of State power are concerned. The spirit of the Constitution has to be upheld by adherence to this "Maryada" by the functionaries in the discharge of their duties, he added.

Hailing India's growth in recent times as "remarkable", the President said, "It is often growing above eight percent per annum over the last decade. International agencies have acknowledged India's status as the fastest growing major economy in the world and recognised major improvements in indices of ease of doing business and logistics performance. The start-up movement and the innovative spirit of our young entrepreneurs have also attracted international attention. We must build on our strengths so that, this lead can be sustained and furthered.

"A normal monsoon this year gives us reason to cheer, unlike the past two years when below normal rains created agrarian distress. The fact that despite two consecutive drought years, inflation has remained below six percent and agricultural output has been stable, which is a testimony to our nation's resilience, and to how far we have progressed since Independence."

Hailing India's foreign policy for showing considerable dynamism in recent times," President Mukherjee said, "We have reinvigorated our historic bonds of friendship with traditional partners of Africa and Asia Pacific. We are in the process of forging new relationships based on shared values and mutual benefit with all countries, especially our immediate and extended neighbourhood. There will be no stepping back on our 'neighbourhood first policy'.

"Close bonds of history, culture, civilisation and geography provide the people of South Asia with an extraordinary opportunity to carve out a common destiny and to march together towards prosperity. This opportunity must be seized without delay. India's focus in foreign policy will remain on peaceful co-existence and harnessing technology and resources for its economic development. Recent initiatives have enhanced energy security, promoted food security, and created international partnerships to take our flagship development programmes forward."

President Mukherjee said society can only be developed by harmonising religion with modern science and the hurt and the alienated people have to be brought into the mainstream for all round development of the country.

The President said in a technological era when machines are being pitted against men, the only way to survive is to acquire knowledge and skills and learn to innovate.

Conveying his special greetings and gratitude to the members of India's armed forces, President Mukherjee said, "Our armed forces, paramilitary and internal security forces who are at the forefront of guarding and preserving the Unity, Integrity and Security of our motherland." (ANI)