PM warns against divisive forces

In what appeared to be a veiled reference to the Amarnath land row, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the tradition of sadbhavana (harmony) in the country was facing a "grave challenge" from "divisive forces" and recommended "dialogue and reconciliation", to tackle such challenges.

He was speaking at a function here to confer the Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavna Award for 2007 to eminent Gandhian and social worker Prof N Radhakrishnan for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of communal harmony, peace and goodwill.

Singh said the country was once again confronting forces trying to spread hatred and disharmony. In this context, he referred to the methods of dialogue and reconciliation as adopted by the late Rajiv Gandhi. "Sadbhavna, both locally and globally, is more relevant today," said Singh

He termed Rajiv Gandhi as the "quintessential embodiment" of the Sadbhavana tradition Mahatma Gandhi had set for public leadership. "His message becomes most relevant at this time when we once again confront forces trying to spread hatred and disharmony," said the PM.

Speaking on the occasion, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said social and communal tension, violence and terrorism were the burning socio-political problems today. "There is a dearth of principles in social and political life. Today, the young generation is not inspired only by our words. They want to see our karma (actions)," she said, adding that Rajiv Gandhi had tirelessly worked for what he thought was good for the country, the society and future generations.

Radhakrishnan suggested the setting up of a dedicated ministry for peace and conflict resolution.

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