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Taliban's defeat victory of good over evil: PM

Taliban's defeat victory of good over evil: PM

Publication: Times of India
Date: November 16, 2001

New Delhi: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee Thursday described the defeat of Taliban in Afghanistan as the 'victory of good over evil' and said a common thread of religious intolerance ran through different instances of terrorism like the destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas, the US terror strikes and cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

"At the very core of these familiar developments is religious intolerance of the most extreme and violent kind. .... And that is the irreligious mindset that rejects and abhors religious diversity," Vajpayee said in his address to the World Congress for Preserving Religious Diversity here.

Stating that terrorists believed "their bigoted ends can justify the most diabolical means of terror" of killing thousands of innocent people, he said they took the name of God and religion and called their campaign a 'holy war' "only to excite sentiments and emotions and in a bid to mobilise wider support to their cause".

"In fact, they represent no religion," he asserted saying how could they as they did not respect human life which was the essence of every religion.

He said in all the recent developments like cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban and the September 11 terror strikes in the US, "a single causative thread runs through them all".

The terrorists, while rejecting and abhorring religious diversity, did not believe in the principle of co-existence of diverse faiths and traditions which constituted humanity, Vajpayee said.

Stating that Diwali was celebrated as the journey from darkness to light, Vajpayee said "all of us can rejoice in the current defeat of the Taliban in city after city in Afghanistan - a defeat which shows that the Afghan people's long awaited journey from darkness to light has begun."

"May all of us send our best wishes and generous assistance to our brethren in Afghanistan for taking this victorious journey forward to early reconstruction and lasting peace," the Prime Minister said.

Maintaining that the world community had now come to know the true face of terrorism, he said, "Now that international cooperation against terror have been proved to yield desired results, such cooperation should be continued and further strengthened around the world."

The Prime Minister said leaders of different faiths and communities should launch "parallel and continuing international cooperation against extremism and terrorism" alongside their political counterparts.

He delved on "the historic Indian traditions of secularism and religious tolerance" and gave instances of how Christianity and Islam came to India."

"These are not exceptions. In spite of many irreligious acts in the past, and in spite of the partition of India on the specious two-nation theory, all of India is even today dotted with similar symbols and traditions of inter-religious tolerance," he said.

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama said while there had been lot of developments in the materialistic world, the human mind was being increasingly guided by hatred which was causing such immense disasters like the US terror strikes.

Stating that every living thing had every right to live and grow, the Dalai Lama said "brilliant minds" at times had a negative bent and neglected the basic human feeling of compassion.

Hence, the principles of compassion, sense of care and concern about each other, human values and respect for rights of others have to be promoted, the spiritual leader said.

Former President R Venkataraman, chairman of the conference's organising committee, said all religions were equal and, therefore, entitled to equal respect.

He called upon the people to adopt a policy of tolerance and opposed religious conversions "by force, fraud or inducements".

Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Jewish religious leaders were present on the occasion, along with VHP President Ashok Singhal and VHP General Secretary Giriraj Kishore among others.

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