India is celebrating the 'National Unity Day' to mark the 144 birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first Home Minister of the country credited for unifying the nation into a single entity from the era of princely states. The Narendra Modi government has been celebrating ‘Ekta Diwas’ since it came into power in 2014. To mark the day, the Centre and several BJP-led state governments have organised many events. Prime Minister Modi, who is in his home state Gujarat, paid homage to Sardar Patel at his grand statue in Kevadia. The 'Statue of Unity', which was inaugurated by PM Modi last year, is world’s tallest statue. In National Capital Delhi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah flagged off the 'Run For Unity' marathon at the National Stadium.
PM Modi Pays Tribute At Statue Of Unity
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday paid glowing tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, saying he dedicates the decision to abrogate Article 370 "at the feet" of the country's first home minister.
Centuries ago India was united by Chanakya, and after that Sardar Patel achieved the same feat by merging princely states with the Union of India, the PM said at a function at the Statue of Unity.
The country decided to abrogate Article 370, which had only given "separatism and terrorism" to Jammu and Kashmir, he said. PM said that his government has broken the final wall of separation that existed between India and Jammu & Kashmir.
"Article 370 only gave separatism and terrorism to Jammu and Kashmir. In last 3 decades, over 40,000 people got killed and several mothers lost their sons due to terrorism. Now this wall of Article 370 has been demolished," he said.
North-East is now moving from separatism to attachment as decades-old problems are nearing resolution, Modi said.
Unity in diversity is our pride and identity, Modi said on the occasion of Patel's 144th birth anniversary whichis celebrated as National Unity Day. Those who "cannot win wars against us" are trying todestroy our unity, he said, in apparent jibe at Pakistan.
He also talked about the 'Run for Unity' program being held in different cities and villages across the country.
"I thank every citizen for participating in this program. India is known for 'unity in diversity'; it is our pride and our identity," he said.
Earlier, PM Modi led the National Unity Day pledge with people present at the Statue Of Unity. PM Modi had also tweeted a video paying homage to Sardar Patel.
"Tributes to the great Sardar Patel on his Jayanti. His contribution to our nation is monumental," he tweeted.
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Tributes to the great Sardar Patel on his Jayanti. His contribution to our nation is monumental. pic.twitter.com/DMS8rN9Jbp
Know About Statue of Unity
The Statue of Unity has been built by Larsen & Toubro Ltd at the cost of Rs 2,989 crore. With height of 182 meters, the Sardar Patel statue is 100 times larger than the average person. Total height of Sardar Patel statue is double than New York's Statue of Liberty. The world’s tallest statue has been completed in shortest time. To make world's tallest statue, 135 metric-tonne of iron was collected from many villages across India.
Iron Man of India
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was born on October 31, 1875 at Nadiad in Gujarat. India's first Home Minister, Patel is credited for merger of over 560 states into the Union of India. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1991.
Run For Unity
The 'Run for Unity', which began from the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, saw the participation of a large number of people, including sports personalities, sports enthusiasts and personnel of central police forces among others. The 1.5-km run in Delhi takes place at the India Gate C-Hexagon-Shah Jahan Road radial. People wearing white T-shirts and bearing Patel's photo assembled at the national stadium and India Gate roundabout for the run.The flag off also saw the presence of Union ministers Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', Hardeep Singh Puri, R K Singh, Kiren Rijiju, G Kishan Reddy, Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal and home secretary Ajay K Bhalla on the dais with the home minister.
(With agency inputs)