NEW DELHI -- While the nation is still holding its breath for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence on the tragic lynching of a Muslim man by a Hindu mob alleging that he had slaughtered a calf, President Pranab Mukherjee spoke out today to exhort "core civilisation values of diversity, tolerance and plurality."
"I firmly believe that we cannot allow the core values of our civilisation to be wasted… Over the years, the civilization celebrated diversity, promoted and advocated tolerance, endurance and plurality," Mukherjee said on Wednesday, while speaking at a book launch at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday.
"These core civilisation values keep us together over the centuries. Many ancient civilisations have fallen. ... (despite) aggression after aggression and long foreign rule, the Indian civilisation has survived because of its core civilisational values and we must keep that in mind. And if we keep those core values in mind, nothing can prevent our democracy to move," he said, PTI reported.
Mukherjee's remarks come a week after Mohammed Akhlaq and his family, residents of Bisada village near the town of Dadri in western Uttar Pradesh, were brutally attacked by a Hindu mob alleging that they killed a cow and stored beef in their refrigerator.
Akhlaq, a 52-year-old ironsmith, died after he was beaten with lathis and bricks by the enraged mob, and his son ended up in hospital in a critical condition.
Mukherjee gave a 15-minute address at the function on Wednesday in which he was handed over a coffee-table book on him, written by Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director of The New Indian Express, and released by Vice President Hamid Ansari.
PTI reported that Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, also attended the function.