AHMEDABAD: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hit back at the recent criticism by a Gandhinagar archbishop, who urged the Christian community to 'save the country ‘from 'nationalist forces', saying it was 'nationalism' that helped in bringing back Father Tom Uzhunnalil from ISIS captivity in Yemen.
Speaking at a public rally in Ahmedabad, the Prime Minister said, "I was surprised to see a man of associated with spirituality release a Diktat saying remove the nationalist forces from power. It is 'Rashtra Bhakti' that transcends all barriers and it is what guides us to help every Indian, in every part of India and the world".
"Those who are releasing Fatwas against 'nationalists' should see the efforts we undertook to get Father Tom back. Father Tom was guided by his love for Lord Christ and was working. We also brought back Father Prem, who was kidnapped in Afghanistan," he added.
He said that it is the 'nationalism' that made it possible to get the captives like Father Tom and Father Prem released.
"It is our 'nationalism' that made us get Father Tom and Father Prem back. When Judith D'Souza was kidnapped, we once again did whatever we could to bring this daughter of India back. Our nurses were stranded in West Asia. When these nurses, who are doing such humanitarian work, are stranded how can anyone sleep in peace? Every effort was undertaken to bring them back home," Prime Minister Modi said.
Thomas Macwan, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Gandhinagar, had recently written a letter to Christians in the city urging them to save the nation from “nationalist forces” as its “democratic fabric” was at stake, amidst a growing “sense of insecurity” among the minorities.
Modi also appreciated External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for her efforts.
"Have you seen how active Sushma Swaraj ji is? Guided by humanitarian values, she is serving so many people in need- they can be in any part of the world but she helps them," the Prime Minister asserted.
He further said that the lack of healthcare facilities affects the poor adversely.
"We want to change that and that is why we made stents cheaper. Priority is to improve health infrastructure and boost innovation in the sector," Prime Minister Modi noted.
The two-phase Gujarat assembly elections will take place on December 9 and 14, while the results will be out on December 18.