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Religion must not be used as mask to satisfy hunger for power: President


New Delhi: Amidst the raging beef controversy that has triggered communal overtones, President Pranab Mukherjee Thursday warned that “hate speech and fear mongering” should stop and asserted that religion should not be used as a mask to satisfy hunger for power of some individuals.

In an interview to Arabic daily ‘Al Ghad’ ahead of his visit to Jordan, Mukherjee underlined the need to “amplify the voice of moderation”.

“Hate speech and fear mongering should come to an end. Our values should become part of our daily life. We must amplify the voice of moderation. We should not permit religion to be used as a mask to satisfy hunger for power and control of some individuals,” he said.

The President’s remarks come against the backdrop of lynching of a 50-year-old in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri over beef rumours and the ongoing political slugfest over it.

“Tolerance and co-existence are basic tenets of our civilisation. We hold them very dear to our hearts,” he said while noting that the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had propounded the five principles of peaceful co-existence among nations.

Mukherjee said he agreed with Jordanian King Abdullah that the world is confronted with a “third world war to which we must respond with equal intensity. I also agree that we must go back to essence of respective faiths and creeds”.

Referring to a speech made by Abdullah, he said that leaders of every country, every belief, every neighbourhood need to take a clear and public stand against intolerance of any kind.

Mukherjee said India has sought to challenge and repudiate the terrorist narrative that global counter-terrorism efforts are directed against any particular religion or ethnic group.

“We are convinced that terrorism can be rolled back only through comprehensive, coordinated international cooperation combined with a strengthened, enforceable international legal regime,” he said.

India is aware of the impact of the Syrian crisis on Jordan’s resources and truly commends its leadership and people for their compassion and untiring efforts to mitigate the sufferings of the victims of the ongoing strife in Syria, the President said.

Mukherjee will embark on his first historic visit to Jordan, Palestine and Israel beginning October 10.

India and Jordan are united in the fight against terrorism and extremism which have become a global menace, he said adding that his visit will serve the dual purpose of improving bilateral relations and providing an opportunity to exchange views on regional and global developments.

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