Durban, July 9 - Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday night arrived in Durban from…
NEW DELHI: Less than a month after lashing out at self-styled cow vigilante groups over violence against Dalits, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked politicians, including leaders of the BJP, to refrain from making “irresponsible” statements against any community or person. Denouncing any community’s “self-appointed champions”, he said an old social problem was being given political colour.
“Ever since I celebrated 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar…many people felt that Modi is Ambedkar’s follower. They started having problems. Those who consider themselves as ‘thekedar’ (self-appointed champions) of some special section and want to create tension in the society, they could not digest this that Modi is pro-Dalit…” the PM said in an interview to a private news channel.
Emphasising that he was committed to the welfare of Dalits, oppressed, deprived, tribals and women, he said, “I want to tell politicians, including the leaders of my own party, that there should be no irresponsible statements against any person or community. The country’s unity, social unity and equality should not be affected. We should be extra cautious.”
Refuting that the BJP or Sangh Parivar were against Dalits, he said it was a social problem with roots in history and were being given political tones. “Those who see this as an obstruction to their politics are the ones creating trouble. And this is why they are levelling baseless allegations. All those who have fed this country the poison of caste divide have destroyed this country. They must stop giving political tones to social problems. We must go forwards with a purpose. And I want to ask the society also: are these incidents befitting of a civilised society,” he said, without naming anyone.
“As far as some incidents are concerned they need to be condemned. There is no place for (such incidents) in a civilised society,” Modi said putting the onus on state governments to curb such violence because “law and order is a state subject”.
“Some (people) are selectively picking issues and blaming Modi. Politics over social imbalances is a disservice to society, to all those who have faced injustice for generations,” he said.
At a time when the BJP is gearing up to face the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, where caste affiliations have a sway on politics, Modi said the party will fight polls on development plank. “Our focus will be the welfare of farmers, villages, jobs for the youth and we will stay committed to the cause of social justice,” he said.
On continuing unrest in Kashmir, Modi said it was an old problem and needed to be solved with development and trust. “The seeds of the problem was sown ever since independence and division of our country. Every government had to battle with this problem. This is not a new problem. It is an old one. I believe the youth of Kashmir will not be distracted. We will proceed together maintaining peace, unity and goodwill so that the heaven called Kashmir will remain a heaven,” he said.
Modi denied that he indulged in political vendetta. To a question if he will not spare any ‘dynasty’ on black money, Modi said he never tried to get any file opened to settle political scores.
“I do not think from a political perspective… I have been a chief minister for 14 years. I never opened a file for political reasons. We have not advised opening any file from a political point of view. This interpretation that we are not sparing any dynasty is wrong,” he said, in an apparent reference to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s land deals in Haryana.
To a question about the economic growth in the country and slow private investments, Modi said that after he took charge as the PM, he should have presented a white paper on India’s economic situation in 2014, before the first budget of his government was presented.
Recognising the role of media for making those in power accountable, he advised journalists to stop tailing politicians for the sake of TRPs and instead cover more productive people in the country. As an example, he asked channels to show the “tapasya” of 30 selected sportspersons in the run-up to Rio Olympics. While welcoming criticism from media, he lamented that it lacked the research required for it. Therefore, they invite some people, who level allegations