India’s prime minister calls for religious toleration
February 19, 2015
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, called for religious toleration in a February 17 address honoring the recent canonization of two Indians.
“The life and deeds of Saint Chavara and Saint Euphresia are an inspiration not only to the Christian community, but to humanity as a whole,” he said. “They are shining examples of dedication to God through selfless service for the betterment of mankind.”
“My government will ensure that there is complete freedom of faith and that everyone has the undeniable right to retain or adopt the religion of his or her choice without coercion or undue influence,” he continued. “My government will not allow any religious group, belonging to the majority or the minority, to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly. Mine will be a government that gives equal respect to all religions.”
“India is the land of Buddha and Gandhi,” he added. “Equal respect for all religions must be in the DNA of every Indian. We cannot accept violence against any religion on any pretext and I strongly condemn such violence. My government will act strongly in this regard.”
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- Text of PM’s address at the National Celebration of the Elevation to Sainthood of Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Euphrasia (Prime Minister of India)
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