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Walk of Hope: Spiritual leader Sri M on 7500 kms foot march

Ahmedabad:  Social reformist and spiritual leader, Sri M, who is on a marathon foot march since last eight months, today said religious extremists are vitiating the atmosphere of peace in the country.Stating that his 'Walk
PTI September 05, 2015 23:03 IST
PTI

Ahmedabad:  Social reformist and spiritual leader, Sri M, who is on a marathon foot march since last eight months, today said religious extremists are vitiating the atmosphere of peace in the country.

Stating that his 'Walk of Hope', which is aimed at covering the distance of 7,500 kms from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, is inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, Sri M said through his 'Asha Yatra' he wanted to make people aware about the issues of community health, empowerment of women and also to give them an idea of development.

"This idea about bringing people together is not a new thing. In ancient Indian culture, we have the philosophy that we all are fire of one spark. Sometimes we forget it or we are made to forget it, and then violence happens," he told PTI.

To a query on how religious extremism is proving as a hurdle in bringing peace, Sri M said, "Of course, religious extremists are putting hurdles in peace of country. But I want to remove it in peaceful manner and not by burning buses."

"Think of at least this nation. Can we lead this nation into a peaceful place? All citizens here, no matter what their cast or religion is, they all are citizens of India. Development of India should be everybody's concern," the 67-year-old spiritual leader who was born as Mumtaz Ali Khan said.

On the objective behind the 'walk of hope', Sri M said he was inspired by the Father of Nation and narrated an incident from Gandhi's life wherein the latter's political guru Gopalkrishna Gokhale had asked him to visit nook and corner of India.

The 'walk of hope' is a 15-month long foot march organised by 'Manav Ekta Mission' founded by Sri M. On his journey so far, the spiritual leader said, "We began the walk on January 12 and have so far completed 3600 kms of walking. Everyday we walk 20 to 25 kms. We have covered part of Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karanataka, Maharashtra and are now in Gujarat."

He said half of the scheduled journey is completed.
 
"We entered from Sutrapada in Gujarat. Half of our journey is completed. Godhra will be the mid-point and another 4000 kms to finish from Godhra," Sri M said, adding that the walk will be finished in Srinagar by April next year.

He said around 50 per cent members of 'Walk of Hope' were women as he wanted to bring awareness about their empowerment.

"Whenever women's problems are there, we discuss with them and I have a direct access to Women and Child Welfare department. I can present the problems to (Union
Minister) Maneka Gandhi," Sri M claimed.

He also underlined that he was against discrimination being faced by LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders) community and during his walk he had visited them at Rajpipla in Gujarat and Chitradurga in Karanataka.

On a query how he found Gujarat in terms of infrastructure and development, Sri M said, "If you think development means industries and good roads and so on, cities
are very well developed, but rural areas are still to be developed.

"We found people are defecating in open on roads. If the developmental model is only for cities and industries then it is doing very well," he said.