India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday vowed to combat the "virus" of terrorism in a speech delivered on a festival that traditionally symbolises the victory of good over evil. The PM's speech on the festival of 'Dussehra' comes in the wake of the Uri terror attack in Kashmir and the ensuing attacks against Pakistani terrorists across the Line of Control.
"If you think that we are free from terrorism, then you are wrong. It is a virus affecting our society," PM Modi said while addressing the rally in the Uttar Pradesh state capital of Lucknow.
Drawing references from the Indian scripture Ramayana, the PM compared the scourge of terrorism to a demon that should be "uprooted and destroyed".
Calling terrorism an "enemy of humanity", the PM asked his country to "fight out terrorism collectively".
He said, "(If) we, one and a quarter billion Indians, come together and be vigilant against terrorists, terrorists cannot succeed."
"Elements involved in terrorist activities should be uprooted and destroyed. And, at the same time, the powers backing terrorist activities should be punished," he told the gathering at the city's Aishbagh Ramleela Ground.
"There is an urgent need to uproot and punish the elements that promote and indulge in terrorist activities.This festival is about the victory of good over evil, and terrorism is an enemy of humanity. Everyone needs to speak in one voice against terrorism. So, when we burn Ravana (Indian demon), we should remember that humanity can't be saved unless we fight out terrorism together."
He said that while Indians couldn't be the popular Lord Ram, they could try to be demi-god Jatayu who was the first to fight terrorism while trying to save the honour of a goddess.
"From the times of Lord Ram our nation has been fighting terrorism as it was Jatayu (a demi-god who had the form of a Vulture), who fought the first fight against terrorism by trying to save goddess Sita when she was being abducted by Ravana. Ramayana stands a witness that the first fighter against terrorism was Jatayu, who fought for a woman's honour, Even if all of us can't be Lord Ram, we can all try to be Jatayu, and keep terrorism at the bay," the PM said.
Modi also compared India to the land of Krishna, another popular god, who as per mythology wiped out people with his weapon, "Sudarshan Chakra".
"This is the nation of `Chakradhari Mohan (Krishna) and the land of Buddha. We believe in peace, but if needed we can fight against the evil as well," said Prime Minister Modi.