Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday called upon the people to reflect on how to work together and contribute in arresting "disturbing trends" of intolerance, communal polarisation and incidents of violent crimes propelled by hate groups and mobs being witnessed in the country.
Addressing the Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award function, he said such "unsavoury" trends can only harm national interests and are an anathema to the promotion of peace and communal harmony.
The award was presented to former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishan Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. Singh, along with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former union minister Karan Singh, who is the chairman of the advisory board of Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana award trust, were among those present.
Talking about the present climate in the country, Sonia Gandhi called for collectively expressing the resolve "to fight the forces of divisiveness, hate and bigotry".
Manmohan Singh said today's function was a celebration of Rajiv Gandhi's outstanding contribution to promotion of peace, national integration and communal harmony and also a solemn occasion to pay homage to Rajiv Gandhi, whose memory shall be cherished.
He said Rajiv Gandhi worked for the values of a broad secular outlook, the spirit of tolerance, commitment to communal harmony and empathy to others all his life.
The former prime minister also noted that the homage to Rajiv Gandhi should also be marked by a reaffirmation of one's commitment to abide by these core values.
"Another cause for solemn reflection today is some disturbing trends that our country has been witnessing over the past few years.
"Those unsavoury trends of growing intolerance, communal polarization, growing incidence of violent crimes propelled by hatred of certain groups and of mobs taking the law in their own hands can only harm the national interests of our country," he said
The former prime minister said they are also an anathema for promotion of peace, national integration and communal harmony, which are the cherished objectives enshrined in the Constitution.
"All of us need to pause and reflect on how we can work together and contribute to arresting these trends," he said.