Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday (October 10) said Urban Naxals were trying to gain entry into Gujarat by changing their appearance, but the state would destroy them.
The PM was speaking after laying the foundation stone of the country’s first bulk drug park in Gujarat’s Bharuch district.
The project will play a key role in ensuring import substitution and making India self-reliant for bulk drugs, which accounted for more than 60 per cent of the total pharmaceutical imports in 2021-22, as per a government release.
Modi said, “Urban Naxals are trying to enter the state with new appearances. They have changed their costumes. They are misleading our innocent and energetic youth into following them.”
“The Urban Naxals are setting foot from above. We won’t let them destroy our young generation. We should warn our children against the Urban Naxals who have taken up the task of destroying the country. They are agents of foreign powers. Gujarat will not bow down its head against them, Gujarat will destroy them, he said in a veiled attack on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP is trying to make inroads into BJP-ruled Gujarat where the Assembly polls are due later this year.
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Urban Naxal term is often used by some segments of the political spectrum to describe sympathisers of the Naxalism cause as well as certain social activists. PM Modi said “people with Naxal mentality” tried their best to stop the Sardar Sarovar dam project.
He had last month alleged that “urban Naxals and anti-development elements” with political backing had stalled the construction of Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river in Gujarat for many years by running a campaign that it would harm the environment.
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel had also earlier alleged that “urban Naxals” opposed the Sardar Sarovar dam project. He had labelled activist and Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar as an “urban Naxal”.
Notably, Patkar had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Mumbai North East as an AAP candidate.
On Monday, Modi said, “I had to specially tell our adivasi brothers that Naxalism started in (West) Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, some parts of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Andhra, Telangana and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra…Naxalism is destroying the lives of our adivasi youth.”
“They made them hold guns and instigated them…there was crisis all around,” he said.
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Modi said at that time (when he was the chief minister of Gujarat), he had the challenge to not let Naxalism set in.
“I had to save the life of our adivasi brothers and sisters who live in the entire eastern belt (of Gujarat) – from Ambaji to Umargam. I had to work hard to ensure they were not inflicted with a disease like this. And for that, we took up the task of tribal area development,” Modi said.
The PM said he could say with satisfaction that the state’s tribal people paid heed to his words and trusted him.
“As a result, Naxalism could not enter this way. For this, I thank our adivasi brothers and sisters and express gratitude to them,” Modi said.
The PM said earlier Gujarat even had a chief minister from the tribal community.
“But from Umargam to Ambaji, the schools did not have even the science stream. If there is no science (education) in Class 10 and 12, however you talk about reservation, can these children become doctors or engineers?” he asked.
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Modi said his government’s efforts have ensured that tribal youth become doctors and engineers and fly planes.
“Lakhs of them get scholarships. We have universities named after adivasis — the Birsa Munda Tribal University and the Govind Guru University. Today, new confidence and opportunities have risen up for our adivasi youth,” he said.
Modi said it was because of the collective efforts of the people of India, especially the young generation, farmers, labourers, small businessmen and industrialists that the Indian economy now ranks fifth, as against the 10th position when he took over as the PM in 2014.
“And not just that, when it went from sixth to the fifth position, the country felt a special pride because those in the fifth position were the ones who ruled us for 250 years. We were their slaves, and now our youth have taken my country ahead,” he said.
For this, the young generation, farmers, labourers, small businessmen, small industrialists–they all deserve fame, he said.
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“When the country has reached fifth (position) from 10th, then the rights belong to you and your effort,” he added.
PM Modi also lauded the contribution of Bharuch district in the development of Gujarat and India.
“Today, my Bharuch is known for industry, trade, ports…the country’s first bulk drug park is going to be set up in Gujarat, and that too in Bharuch,” he said.
He also said the foundation stone for the Ankleshwar airport (in Bharuch district) was being laid now, something which he tried to get from the Centre when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, but “leaders from Bharuch who were sitting in Delhi did not listen” to him.
Bharuch has more industries compared to many small states in the country. The number of jobs provided by Bharuch is a record in itself, he said.
With the new airport, development will gain pace. The work on the airport will be completed fast with the “double engine governments of Narendra-Bhupendra,” the PM said.
(With inputs from agencies)