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PM Lashes Out At Pakistan For Glorifying Terrorists

Modi devotes bulk of his address on the occasion of the 70th Independence Day to presenting a report card of his government's work particularly in boosting economic growth

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Lashing out at Pakistan for glorifying terrorists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday declared that the country will not bow before terrorism even as he said people of Baluchistan and PoK have thanked him for raising issue of atrocities against them.

In a 90-minute address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Modi made no reference to the situation in Kashmir Valley which has been rocked by violence after the killing of Hizbul Commander Burhan Wani, but accused Pakistan of glorifying terrorists and celebrating killings in India.

This was an obvious reference to Wani who has been hailed as a martyr by Pakistan, which was not directly named by him.

Attired in his trademark half sleeves kurta and sporting a Rajasthani turban, Modi devoted bulk of his address on the occasion of the 70th Independence Day to presenting in effect a report card of his government's work particularly in boosting economic growth, ease of doing business and welfare schemes for the poor and farmers.

The Prime Minister, who has spoken out against atrocities on dalits in the recent days, said a strong country cannot be built without a strong society which is based on social justice.

He asserted that a "tough and sensitive" approach is required to tackle the age-old social evils including casteism or untouchability.

Referring to terrorism, he asked the youth of the country to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream, saying they have not achieved anything by taking the path of terror and extremism.

Inflation Target

Modi gave his backing to a new inflation target, saying his government had brought down consumer price growth from double digits under the last government.

Modi backed the 4 per cent inflation target, within a range of 2 percentage points either way, that had been agreed with outgoing Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.

The government formally "notified" the medium-term inflation target just before Rajan held his final policy meeting on Aug. 9. Figures last Friday showed inflation nudging over 6 percent, outside the target range.

During his address, the Prime Minister also made two announcements - an increase of 20 per cent in the pension of freedom fighters and that medical costs of up to Rs 1 lakh for BPL families will be borne by the government.

Though he did not make a direct reference to violence against dalits, Modi asserted that survival of the society was impossible if there was no social unity and asked the countrymen to work for social equality and justice.

Asserting that social harmony was the key to the nation's progress, he said,"What lord Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, saint Ramanajucharya, B R Ambedkar, all our holy scriptures saints and teachers have stressed is social unity. When society breaks, the empire disintegrates. When a society is divided into touchables and untouchables; upper and lower (castes), then such a society cannot last," he said.

He also advocated a "tough and sensitive" approach to deal with age-old social ills.