Breaking away from the tradition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the historic Ramlila celebrations in Lucknow on Tuesday, where he attacked Pakistan, saying those who help and provide shelter to terrorists cannot be spared. However, he made no reference to the surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The move assumes significance as it comes ahead of the State Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh next year.
The issue of terrorism dominated his 20-minute speech. “Terror is the worst enemy of humanity,” Modi said, and called upon the global community to speak in a unified voice against the menace. “Terrorism does not have any boundaries. It is bound to destroy all. A need has arisen to root out those who spread terrorism. Those who help terrorists and provide shelter to them can no longer be spared,” he said in an obvious reference to Pakistan, without naming it.
“Terrorism is against humanity. The entire world is being destroyed. If you think that we are insulated against terrorism, then you are wrong. It is a virus affecting our societies. All forces across the world have to talk in one voice and end it. It will not be possible to save humanity without eradicating terrorism,” the Prime Minister said. “The forces of humanism should unite globally to end the menace.
On Tuesday, Modi became the first Prime Minister to attend a Ramlila event outside Delhi. His participation at the Aishbagh celebrations assumes significance in the context of UP Assembly elections. The theme of Dussehra celebrations itself was the ‘destruction of terrorism’. There were many references to the surgical strikes by characters enacting Ramlila ahead of the Modi’s speech. Calling for people to remain vigilant against terrorist attacks, Modi claimed that alert citizens could thwart the plans of terrorists. He also attacked casteism and communalism in his speech.