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Act like honeybees, not flies: Modi to journalists
H S Rao in London |
August 20, 2003 20:08 IST
Last Updated: August 21, 2003 14:45 IST
Stung by adverse publicity he has attracted in media both in India and London, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asked journalists to act as a 'honey-bee' rather than a 'fly' while discharging their duty.
"I would like to tell my journalist friends that the world is not only of garbage and rubbish. There are flowers and bouquets representing the positive aspect of life and they should reflect that also," Modi said after inaugurating the Shakti Hall of Gujarat Samachar, a bilingual weekly.
The chief minister, who faced a demonstration by a dozen people representing several organisations, including South Asia Solidarity, Awaaz and Indian Council of Muslims as he arrived, said, "Journalists should not act like flies, carrying dirt from place to place and spreading disease."
"Rather they should be like the honeybees, which fly from one flower to another, savouring honey and at the same time sting severely in an adverse circumstance," he said.
The hour-long function was attended by Lord Navnit Dholakia, leading NRI and president of the Liberal Democratic Party, Barry Gardiner, member of parliament, general secretary, Labour Friends of India, Keith Vaz, former minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Office, P C Haldar, Minister, Coordination in the High Commission of India and Capt Ashwini Kumar Sharma, Regional Director of India for UK and Ireland.
The gathering also had representatives of the Muslim community in the UK.
Without making any direct reference to last year's communal riots in the state, Modi said the humanity as a whole was currently in the grip of a religious conflict.
The chief minister said many people would not know that Gujarat was known for its religious harmony and it in fact has a religious harmony temple.
"We want to convert the Religious Harmony Temple situated at Udwada, near Surat, into a world heritage centre," he said.
Recalling its history, he said years ago, when Iranian Parsis came to India fleeing from atrocities back home it was a Hindu King who provided them shelter.
"The entire world is caught up in religious hatred and it is time we have religious harmony," he said.
He said a country that had given birth Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi would not give birth to a 'Hitler'. He was having an indirect dig at a London daily which had compared him with Hitler.
Ismail Hafez Yusuf Lorgat, representing the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind presented a covenant to the chief minister, which said, "Allah T a'ala promised his great favours, honours and the station of nearest to him to those who fulfil the obligations and conduct their affairs with justice and goodness. At the same time, he warns those who break the covenant with him and spread evil, corruption and injustice of severe punishment to come."
Throughout his speech, demonstrators outside kept on condemning Modi for the atrocities on Muslims in Gujarat following the post-Godhra riots.
This was the second demonstration faced by Modi during his four-day visit, which concluded on Wednesday. About 200 people had demonstrated last Sunday, the first day of his visit, as he addressed a public meeting at the closed-door Wembley Conference Centre.