Focus on Rights Kept Country Weak: Modi’s Latest Barb on his Opponents

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Of late, his government is under heavy fire, from human rights forums in the country and abroad, for its poor human rights record. The remark could be PM’s counter-offensive against his detractors.

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – In a remark ostensibly directed against his politically opponents, bound to snowball into a major controversy in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi blamed the focus on rights at the expense of duties of the citizens for the country remaining “weak”. He sought to reverse the trend by dedicating the next 25 years to hard work, sacrifice and penance.

The prime minister was speaking at the “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” on Thursday, an initiative launched by the government to celebrate 75 years of Independence.

Of late, the Narendra Modi led BJP government at the Centre is under heavy fire, from human rights forums in the country and abroad, for its poor human rights record. His stress on the duties vis-à-vis rights of the citizens at this juncture could be a ploy to put his detractors on the defensive and absolve himself and his government of the charges of rights violation.

Elaborating on his contentious viewpoint, Modi said, “In the last 75 years, we only kept talking about rights, fighting for rights and wasting our time.”

He, however, conceded that “the talk of rights, to some extent, for the time being, may be right in particular circumstances.” “But,” said he, “forgetting one’s duties completely has played a huge role in keeping India weak.”

The prime minister said that the gap created by talking on rights can be filled by collective focus on duty and “get back what our society has lost in hundreds of years of slavery.”

He also alleged that attempts were being made to tarnish the image of the country at international level without naming anybody. It has been a standard defence from the prime minister and his government when raised the issues of governance and development in the country.

“We cannot get away with this by saying that this is just politics. This is not politics; this is the question of our country. And when we are celebrating this festival of freedom, it is also our responsibility that the world should know India in the right form,” PM Modi said.

He urged the organisations to work towards countering rumours about India among people of other countries.

Modi’s remarks on rights versus duties evoked sharp criticism from some quarters including the Opposition.

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