New Delhi: Exhorting India's youth to shun drugs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday said narcotics not only destroy lives and families but the money paid to buy them could be funding terrorists in their nefarious activities.
Addressing the nation in his monthly radio talk "Mann Ki Baat", the prime minister also sought to promote the northeast as a tourist destination and urged people to visit the region if they wanted to see the beauty of nature.
He termed the UN decision to observe June 21 as International Day of Yoga as a "matter of great pride" for India, and expressed happiness over his recent informal retreat here with chief ministers and meeting India's World Cup-winning blind cricket team.
On drugs, he said: "Sometimes I want to ask the youth who indulge in drugs that maybe you experience a different world when you take drugs. But have you ever asked where the money you buy your drugs with goes?" "Have you thought ... what if this money reaches terrorists and they buy arms using them?
And using them, they kill our soldiers? "Have your ever thought that maybe the bullet that has hit a soldier was bought from some percentage of the money you paid to buy your drugs," Modi said. "Have the courage to say 'no' (to drugs) and reject drugs.
Tell your friends the same," he said, observing that drug abuse brings "darkness, destruction and devastation" and suggested measures, including a special helpline and a social media campaign, to tackle the menace.
"I had said the last time that I was worried about the youth of the country. I am worried as some sons and daughters get stuck with drugs and the entire family is torn apart. "It can destroy very good families. Drugs is something that can shatter anyone.
This is a psycho-social-medical problem and cannot be solved only through medical means," he said. Modi noted that many people had come out of this habit and urged celebrities and people connected with public life to create awareness, while urging parents to study the changes happening in their children and try to save them.
"We can try and have a movement #DrugFreeIndia." He said he shared his thoughts on drug abuse with police officers and asked them to think of solutions to the issue.
In response, Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh welcomed the prime minister's concern about the scourge of drugs the country was confronted with, but said Modi's "Mann ki Baat" on drugs "should have been more action-oriented than just a wish-list".
"The prime minister must set the agenda and tell the nation what he plans to do and not just what should be done," he said. "Who can feel the pain more than us in Punjab where an entire generation has been threatened," said the former Punjab chief minister.
"It is good that the issue has attracted the attention of the prime minister and I hope that the 'Mann ki Baat' will not end up in the heart only but will be taken to its logical conclusion."
In his radio address, Modi also said the northeast region has a lot of potential and described his recent visit there as a "heart warming" experience. "People sometime ask, 'Modi ji, don't you get tired?' I say that it feels there is no tiredness after visiting the northeast." "People there gave me love. The sense of belongingness they showed towards me was heart-warming."
He also hailed the UN decision to declare June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. "The world came together on the issue. (A total of) 177 nations were co-sponsors (of the UN resolution)" he said, thanking all the countries for supporting the UN decision. Modi also said meeting chief ministers of various states here was "a moment of sheer joy".
"I met the chief ministers and there was a retreat. No pens, papers, no officials. Only the chief ministers and the prime minister sat as friends and talked about issues," he said, adding that they discussed issues related to development and national growth.
He said he got "energy" after meeting the victorious blind cricketers and seeing their enthusiasm. The team won the fourth ODI World Cup for the blind in South Africa this month. Modi said the players had not only brought laurels to India but inspired many disabled people through their feat.
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