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Azam Khan takes jibe at Modi-Obama friendship

Azamgarh (UP): Latching on to Barack Obama’s concern about religious “intolerance” in India, senior Samajwadi Party minister Azam Khan on Friday sought to puncture Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s attempts to project the US President as his bosom friend.

“Modi made tall claims about his close friendship with Obama, but at the time of returning home, he warned that communalism was a bane for India,” he said.

Azam Khan. PTI

Khan was here to attend a Samajwadi Party function here in SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav‘s Lok Sabha constituency.

“The foreigner who had come here had warned that the path of India’s development would be affected because of communalism,” he said.

Khan was reacting to Obama’s comment in Washington that the “acts of intolerance” experienced by religious faiths of all types in India in the past few years would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi.

Earlier also, Obama, at the end of his three-day visit to India, had made a strong pitch for religious tolerance, cautioning that India will succeed so long as it was not “splintered along the lines of religious faith”.

Khan said religion would survive only if the country survives.

The SP leader also slammed Modi for reportedly trivialising and humiliating media.

“If the head of the government loses control over his tongue, it will lead to anarchy in the country and we should all condemn it,” Khan added.


Barack Obama pays tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, calls him rare gift to world

US President Barack Obama, who has often talked about the influence of Mahatma Gandhi on his life, on Sunday paid homage to the ‘apostle of peace’ at the Rajghat memorial here describing his spirit as a “rare gift” to the world. The American President placed a wreath, showered rose petals at Gandhi’s memorial and bowed before it with folded hands for some time.

PM Modi and President Obama in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI

“What Dr Martin Luther King Jr. said that remains true today: The spirit of Gandhi is very much alive in India today and it remains a rare gift to the world. May we always live in this spirit of love and peace among all people and nations,” Obama wrote in the visitors’ book at the memorial. Obama went straight to Rajghat after his ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. During his last visit here in 2010 also, he had paid tributes to Gandhi at the memorial.

The American President was presented a replica of Gandhi’s famous ‘charkha’ by the officials of the memorial. Obama also planted a sapling of the Peepal tree (Ficus religiosa) at the Rajghat. He has mentioned Gandhi on several occasions, even in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 2009.

Replying to a question on who would be his most favourite personality, dead or alive, to have dinner with, he had then said it would be Gandhi. “He’s somebody who I find a lot of inspiration in. He inspired Dr King (Martin Luther King Jr), so if it hadn’t been for the non-violent movement in India, you might not have seen the same non-violent movement for civil rights here in the United States,” he had said.