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President Pranab cautions against assault on democratic institutions
Tribune News Service

Pranab Mukherjee
Anger against the bitter pandemic of corruption is legitimate...There are times when people lose their patience, but it cannot become an excuse for an assault on our democratic institutions. — Pranab Mukherjee, President

New Delhi, August 14
Terming anger of the people against corruption and protests as legitimate, President Pranab Mukherjee today warned that widespread dissent with attacks on democratic institutions, especially Parliament, could lead the country on the path of chaos.

“Anger against the bitter pandemic of corruption is legitimate, as is the protest against this plague that is eroding the capability and potential of our nation...There are times when people lose their patience, but it cannot become an excuse for an assault on our democratic institutions,” he said in his maiden address to the nation on the eve of Independence Day.

Stating that such institutions are the interface between principles and the people and visible pillars of the Constitution, he said, “They may have suffered the weariness of time, but the answer lies not in destroying what was built, but to re-engineer to make them stronger.”

The speech was candid in pointing to the dangers in undermining institutions like Parliament. He said legislation could not be wrenched away from legislature or justice from judiciary.

The President said when the authority becomes authoritarian, democracy suffers; “but when protest becomes endemic, we are flirting with chaos...Democracy is a shared process. We all win or lose together. Democratic temper calls for dignity of behaviour and tolerance of contrary views. Parliament will live by its own calendar and rhythm. Sometimes that rhythm sounds a bit atonal; but in a democracy there is always a judgment day, the day of election. Parliament is the soul of the people, the “atman” of India. We challenge its rights and duties at our peril,” Mukherjee said.

The speech also reflected the understanding of challenges of the contemporary India and the need to address issues of the young, cautioning that if progress fell behind rising aspirations of the youth “rage will manifest”. “The young”, he said, “have thirst for knowledge that will lift their skills and for opportunity that will put India on the fast track to the first world. ”





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