- "Growing intolerance, mob culture harming society," Manmohan Singh said
- Unity and integrity of nation most important, he added
- Manmohan Singh had led the UPA government from 2004 to 2016
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the "disturbing trends" of growing intolerance, communal polarisation, and hate crimes will damage India's polity. "No religion preaches hatred and intolerance. Vested interests, both external and internal, are inciting and exploiting communal passions and violence to divide India," news agency ANI quoted him as saying. "All of us need to reflect on how we can contribute to arresting these trends," he added.
Speaking at an event on the 75th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Mr Singh said, "The trend of growing intolerance and mob culture is harming the society, we must continue our journey on a path shown by Rajiv ji."
"Nothing is more important than the unity and integrity of our nation. India is indivisible. Secularism is the bedrock of our nationhood. It implies more than tolerance. It involves an active effort for harmony... No religion teaches communalism," the 86-year-old former Prime Minister said quoting Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated by a suicide bomber in Tamil Nadu's Sriperumbudur in 1991.
The Congress had organised a number of events through the week to observe the day as ''Sadbhavana Diwas''.
"India''s strength lies in its unity and diversity. As we remember Shri Rajiv Gandhi on his 75th birth anniversary, we must also remember that his words are now more relevant than ever. We must never allow communal madness to break the bond of unity among us all. #SadbhavanaDiwas," the party posted on its official Twitter handle.
Mr Singh was elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan yesterday after the opposition BJP failed to field a candidate against him. The by-election was held after the death of BJP parliamentarian Madan Lal Saini.
The noted economist, who led the UPA government from 2004 to 2016, had been a member of Rajya Sabha from Assam since 1991 until his term ended in June. The Congress did not have the strength to get him re-elected from Assam, and so he was fielded from Rajasthan.