Terrorists have no religion, no caste: M Venkaiah Naidu

NEW DELHI: A terrorist neither had a religion nor caste, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday, adding that there was no place for violence in a democracy.

He called upon all the countries and the United Nations (UN) to take strong steps to eliminate terrorism from the world, noting that the menace was spreading its wing.

“Some people are linking terrorism with religion. Linking terrorism with religion is trying to give strength to the wrong path the terrorists have taken. A terrorist is a terrorist. A terrorist has no religion, no caste and is an enemy of humanity,” Mr Naidu said, while delivering the “Dr Rajendra Prasad Memorial Lecture 2017”.

He said the sooner terrorism was eliminated from the world, the faster the countries would develop.

“If there is tension, you cannot give attention to development. It is a simple point,” he added.

The vice president said violence could not bring about any positive change in the society and called upon the central and state governments for coordinated efforts against those taking up arms.

“Violence has no place in a democracy. To say the bullet is stronger than the ballot is wrong,” he said, adding that India was battling against and had controlled naxalism and cross-border terrorism.

Mr Naidu called for a global consensus and an action plan to eliminate cross-border terrorism.

For any Indian or a political person, the national interest should come first, followed by the party of his preference and finally, self, he said.

Without naming anyone, the vice-president said certain people were following the reverse order.

The youth accounted for about 65 per cent of the country’s population, he said, adding that it was necessary to develop Indian values and the love for the country and its culture in them.

Mr Naidu said there were different opinions of political leaders about the re-construction of the Somnath temple after Independence.

The thought of the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was “different” on the subject, while the first president, Rajendra Prasad, had felt that the temple ought to be reconstructed quickly as it was a matter of national pride, he added.

Noting that there were a number of challenges before the country, including black money and corruption, Naidu said an increase in the number of income tax return filings and improvement in advance tax collections after demonetisation indicated that the step to scrap high-value currency notes succeeded in tackling the black money menace.

He also urged the people to move towards a “less-cash economy” and carry out financial transactions digitally.

Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was present on the occasion among others.