Respect rights, sensitivities of minorities: President

Kolkata, Dec 14 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday called for respect for the rights and sensitivities of minorities, both in letter and spirit, and emphasised on inclusivity of every community in the national narrative.

“We must learn to respect the rights and sensitivities of minorities, both in letter and spirit. We must cultivate a secular and democratic outlook, and promote a way of life that is inclusive and does not interfere with civic duties and rights as well as responsibilities of individuals.”

“We must strive to maintain an atmosphere where every community feels a part of the national narrative,” the president said while delivering the ‘Indira Gandhi Memorial Lecture 2013 on National Integration’ at the Asiatic Society here.

“We must encourage a broad human outlook in all our citizens and educate them to rise above caste or communal loyalties, the president said.

Mukherjee said national integration demanded that every citizen recognise the primacy of national interest over group or individual interests.

“”Sometimes, it does happen that regional interests overtake our commitment to the national interest. We have to guard against any such tendency.”

He underscored the need for equality in distribution of wealth and services, and urged citizens to “constantly endeavour” for national advancement.

“If India is to meet the challenges of development and carve an honourable place for itself in the comity of nations, its citizens must make efforts continuously to increase production, distribute wealth and provide services equitably among all the people.

“They must constantly endeavour for national advancement and for achieving a shared vision of a great India,” he added.

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