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Use of religion for electoral gain needs to be curbed: PM
April 23, 2007 11:53 IST
Last Updated: April 23, 2007 12:11 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday that the 'dangerous practice' of using religion to divide people for electoral benefit needed to be curbed.
"The use of religion for dividing people and getting electoral benefit is a bane of our age. It is a dangerous practice which needs to be curbed," he said, after releasing a book containing Parliamentary speeches of Maulana Syed Asad Madani.
Describing Maulana Madani as an ardent nationalist and one of the great advocates of secularism, Dr Singh said that through Sachar Committee Report and the Minority Affairs Ministry, his government wanted to address the issue which Madani had raised during his life time.
Dr Singh said that Madani provided leadership to the Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind and guided it along the path of secularism and modern values.
"In doing so, he remained in the forefront of the movement against religious fundamentalism, bigotry and terrorism. Some of his suggestions to do justice to minority communities and deprived sections of society flowed from that larger vision," he told a large gathering, which included Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Maulana Fazalur Rehman, Opposition Leader of National Assembly of Pakistan.
He said Madani wanted full discussion on the Gopal Singh report to understand the real social and economic condition of the Muslims in the country and demanded a separate Ministry for removing backwardness of minorities.
"The themes he discussed and the measures the government has been taking now are centred around equity, justice and fair play," Dr Singh said.
The prime minister recalled that Madani wanted Muslim women to have rights on all kinds of ancestral property, which was restricted when Muhammed Ali Jinnah moved an amendment exempting the forest and agricultural property from the scope of the Bill.
Though he could not succeed, Madani hoped that some day the rights of women on parental property would be guaranteed, Dr Singh said.
"We need such approaches to address the problems confronted by women in our society. Without achieving such goals we cannot truly make India a developed country," he said.
Madani was a staunch advocate of pluralism and secularism and dedicated his life to defend the common ethos and composite culture. His speeches in the Rajya Sabha gave a modern mind, a patriotic and nationalist mind.
Maulana Syed Asad Madani was a nation-builder, he said. In Madani's vision of a developed India he wanted that the minorities, weaker sections of society and women enjoy equality and equality of opportunity, Dr Singh said.
"Today when so much talk is going on to make India a developed country by 2020 we have to be mindful of the words of Maulana Madani," he said.