Communal harmony instrumental in Gujarat's growth: CM

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel today said the state could become a model state in India in terms of development due to the communal harmony prevailing for the last 13-14 years.

The state had witnessed major riots in 2002 after Godhra train-burning incident. Patel today inaugurated 'Vasant-Rajab Friendship Memorial' on the premises of city crime branch office in Gaekwad Haveli area here. "I remember the past incidents of communal violence in Ahmedabad.

But such incidents haven't taken place in the past 13-14 years. Due to this communal harmony and peace, Gujarat developed and became a model state," she said on the occasion. Vasantrao Hegishte, a Hindu, and his Muslim friend Rajabali Lakhani laid down their lives while trying to stop communal riots in the city during Rathyatra in 1946.

Both had taken part in the freedom movement earlier. The Chief Minister appreciated the idea of building the memorial. "I thank all those who came up with the idea of building a memorial and executed it. This memorial will always make people think twice before hurling a stone, which incites a full-blown violence and takes lives.

Due to the prevailing peace, many lives are saved," said Patel. "People should keep in mind the cause for which these two friends, one Hindu and another a Muslim, laid their lives. In the times of communal tension, I urge you to sit together and arrive at compromise, so that no one has to lose their dear ones," said Patel. The monument -- a museum -- has been built inside a three-storied watch-tower of royal era.

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