NEW DELHI - Breaking his silence in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday denounced communalism and asserted that his government stood for unity wherein all religions prosper within the framework of the Constitution.
"My government's only religion is 'India first', my government's only religious book is 'Indian Constitution', our only devotion is 'Bharat Bhakti' and our only prayer is 'welfare of all'," he said in Lok Sabha while replying to a debate on President's Address.
He declared that as the Prime Minister, it was his "responsibility" not to allow "anaap shanap (ridiculous) comments in the name of religion.
"Nobody has the right to discriminate on the basis of religion... "No one has the right to take law into his hands," the Prime Minister said.
His statement assumes significance as the government has been under attack over certain communal remarks made by some BJP and Sangh parivar leaders.
"Communalism for political reasons has destroyed the country. Hearts have been broken," Modi said, asking why questions are being "posed to us".
Insisting that "We want all religions to prosper", the Prime Minister said it is possible only in India under its Constitution which has been prepared with the thinking of thousands of years of the country's history.
"This nation full of diversity. We are for unity in diversity, not disunity. All religions should flourish. It is the uniqueness of India because of its Constitution," he said.
"We want to take the nation forward within the framework of the Constitution," Modi said, adding he saw only the "tricolor" and "no other colour".
Recalling his election rally in Patna in October 2013 which was rocked by serial bomb blasts, Modi said he had then "asked who should Hindus fight with -- with muslims or poverty? I had asked muslims, do you want to fight with hindus or poverty. We have fought enough. Now let us unite and fight against poverty."
Referring to his slogan of 'sabka saath, sabka vikas', he said he sought the cooperation of the opposition also for the benefit of the country.