Against the backdrop of attacks on Dalits and minorities, President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said these incidents should be dealt with “firmly”, calling the violence against weaker sections that militate against the national ethos as “aberrations.“

Coming down heavily on the forces of intolerance, Mr. Mukherjee cautioned against “unmindful pursuit” of a divisive political agenda and polarising debates by groups and individuals. He said they lead to institutional “travesty” and constitutional “subversion.”

Here’s the President’s speech:

7:35 pm: To quote the Upanishads: May god protect us; may god nourish us; may we work together with vigour and energy. May our studies be brilliant; may there be no hostility amongst us; may there be peace, peace, peace.

7:35 pm: These forces pose a danger to entire comity of nations; world will have to fight them unconditionally and in one voice.

7:32 pm: World has witnessed a spate of terror activities having their roots in radicalization of people on basis of religion

7:31 pm: India’s focus in foreign policy will remain on peaceful co-existence & harnessing tech & resources for eco development

7:30 pm: We are in the process of forging new relationships based on shared values and mutual benefit with all countries

7:29 pm: We have reinvigorated our historic bonds of friendship with traditional partners of Africa and Asia Pacific

7:28 pm: Our foreign policy has shown considerable dynamism in recent times

7:27 pm: India has had remarkable growth in recent times, often growing above eight percent per annum over the last decade

On the importance of developing a scientific temper

7:26 pm: It is much more important to look to the future; it is time to join hands to cooperate, innovate and advance

7:26 pm: We often celebrate the achievements of our ancient past but it would be wrong to rest on our laurels

7:25 pm: The only way to survive this is to acquire knowledge and skills, and learn to innovate

7:24 pm: In this age of technological advance, machines are being pitted against men

On valuing our diversity

7:24 pm: India will grow, only when all of India grows; the excluded ones have to be included in the development process

7:23 pm: We must learn to challenge the status quo and refuse to accept inefficiency and slipshod work

7:23 pm: We should promote scientific temper by questioning our beliefs which aren’t compatible with scientific way of thinking

7:22 pm: As we build an India of smart cities, towns and villages, we must ensure they are humane, hi-tech and happy places

7:22 pm: Backed by strong political will, we have to create a future which will economically empower six hundred million youth

7:21 pm: We must take destiny in our own hands to build the India of our dreams.

7:20 pm: The very essence of plurality lies in cherishing our heterogeneity and valuing our diversity

7:19 pm: One unique feature that has held India together is our respect for each other’s cultures, values and beliefs

On the role of the Constitution

7:18 pm: Spirit of Constitution has to be upheld by adherence to the Maryada by functionaries in discharge of their duties

7:16 pm: Constitution has established ethos of Maryada as far as Authorities & Institutions of State power are concerned

7:15 pm: The Constitution has clearly defined the duties and responsibilities of every organ of the State

7:14 pm: Our Constitution is not only a political or legal document but also an emotional, cultural and social contract

On the attacks on weaker sections

7:12 pm: Polarising debates only deepen the fault lines in public discourse

7:10 pm: Disruptions, obstructionism and unmindful pursuit of divisive political agenda lead to institutional travesty.

7:09 pm: The great tree of liberty requires constant nourishment through the institutions of democracy.

7:08 pm: Democracy is more than a periodic exercise of choices to elect the government.

7:07 pm: We cannot call ourselves a civilised society if we fail in providing safety and security to our women and children.

7:06 pm: Every incident of violence against a woman or a child inflicts a wound on the soul of civilisation.

7:06 pm: Safety and security that we provide to our women and children determines the well-being of the state and society

7:05 pm: The collective wisdom of our society and our polity gives me the confidence that such forces will remain marginalised.

7:04 pm: Attacks on weaker sections that militate against our national ethos are aberrations that need to be dealt with firmly.

7:04 pm: Our democracy built on pillars of justice, liberty, equality & fraternity has grown from strength to strength

7:03 pm: When we gained independence in 1947, nobody believed that India will survive as a democracy. Yet, seven decades later, one-and-a-quarter billion Indians with all their diversity have proved those forecasts wrong.

7:02 pm: I respectfully bow to the heroes of independence struggle who fought, suffered & sacrificed their lives to win freedom

7:00 pm: Warm greetings to all my brothers & sisters in the country & abroad on the eve of 69th anniversary of our Independence