Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday condemned political killings and asked people to isolate the forces of violence.
"Progress will not be possible without peace. I appeal to the people of Kerala to isolate the forces of violence," he said, speaking at the release of the 100th book of senior BJP leader in Kerala, P S Sreedharan Pillai.
The Vice-President's statement assumes significance in the backdrop of killing of a Youth Congress leader Shuhaib, allegedly by ruling CPI(M) workers, at the politically sensitive Kannur district on February 13.
Coming down heavily on political clashes, Naidu said such attacks were not good. "Murder and violence affect the social fabric. They will divert attention. I request the Kerala state to isolate violence," he said.
"If there is tension, there cannot be attention towards development", Naidu said and exhorted the people to use the power of the ballot and not that of the bullet.
"Everything should be decided by the ballot, because ballot is stronger than bullet", he said.
Urging for a "full stop" to the violence, Naidu said people should strengthen democratic process in the country. "We have a long illustrious heritage spanning more than a million years. We as a nation are very young, but as a civilisation we are very old."
Indians believed in "Vasudeva Kutumbakam" (the world is one family, the Vice President said. Naidu said the essence of Indianness has been defined by noted American writer and philosopher Will Durant, who said "India will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of mature mind, understanding spirit and a unifying, pacifying love for all human being".
"We may differ in language, religion, region and in worshipping Gods and Goddesses. But India is one and we are proud to be Indians", Naidu said. He said secularism in India was safe not because of the politicians, but because it is bred in the minds of the people.
"It is in the DNA of the Indians who have concern for all others", he said. "People in Kozhikode are concerned about the people in Jammu and Kashmir and people in Kashmir are concerned about their brethren in Kanyakumari", Naidu said.
On the economic front, Naidu said that in seven years, the economy would be the third largest in the world." To achieve this, everyone should make their contribution,he said.
Quoting Mahatma Gandhi Naidu said "cleanliness is much more important than political freedom. Mana, Gana and Dhana should be clean". "If money is clean there will be no tension. If the money earned is not clean then there will always be tension", Naidu said.
India continued to make progress in various fields, he said, adding the country also has challenges in some sectors, including in public health care and education.