This Blog Post has been written by Surbhi Kapoor, a Student of Amity Law School, Delhi GGSIPU. The article talks about the problem of communalism and religious intolerance that has existed in India for several decades even after living together for so many years. This article highlights these political issues and tries to give the judicial aspect of the same.

surbhi

 

India is the country that gave birth to four religions that have lived harmoniously for decades, but they now stand divided on certain incidents that are termed as communal and political controversies. There have been few mishaps in the country that are termed as political strategies to disharmonize our secular nation. In the light of events like Dadri Lynching, Beef Ban, JNU sedition charge, various academicians returning their awards, there have been more debates in the country about whether India is intolerant or not rather than solving the core issues that gave rise to such incidents. This poses a serious threat to the very foundation of modern India.  Some of the political or rather culturally insecure groups are trying to change the democratic and secular structure of the country into a purist state.

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Communalism is one of the most serious problems that India has to face after freedom from colonial rule. In 2013, during the UPA regime, there have been 823 communal riots, and the number reduced to 561 in 2015 (till October) which is he NDA government. Even when the statistics depict a different picture, people believed in a mirage created the media and some parties.This problem, which has existed among the followers of two principal religious communities- Hindus and Muslims – many times raised a great challenge before the secular structure of India. Some of the acts done in the name of religion are shameful and take us miles away from freedom and democracy for which our nation fought for over 100 years.

There have been certain incidents in the country like in Dadri and with various rationalists elsewhere are regrettable and should not happen in any civilized society, but such incidents have been happening in the country since independence and few political parties along with media are making a hue and cry of the same. Repeat a lie a thousand times and it becomes the truth, this is what today media is doing to raise the issue of intolerance in the country.

I strongly condemn some of the slogans that impose a threat to national security raised at the JNU in a row of the event of Judicial killing of Afzal Guru. People who talk about breaking the country into pieces call it freedom of speech protected under Article 19, but neither the constitution nor any law in our country allows it as restrictions are placed on article 19(2).

Recently a number as large as 36 academicians and rational scholars have returned their awards to show their anger against growing intolerance in the country but a large chunk of the society fails to understand why this is happening in such a large number now when there have been more serious issues in the past like imposition of emergency in 1975 where forced sterilization took place in the mane of family planning. No person had the locus to move writ to the high court or challenge the legality of any order of detention[1] or during the Sikh riots were 3,000 Sikhs were killed in the capital according to Abuja Committee Report[2].

The major question that lies on this Sahitya Akademi award winners is that were those issues too small for them to return their awards or is it a publicity stunt to remain in the limelight. The ban on the slaughter of cow was highly criticized by some political parties that are trying to make political gain out of an economic issue. Unfortunately, the current government is blamed for such laws in the country even when they have been imposed by the previous governments. The regulation of cow slaughter comes under state list under India’s Constitution under the seventh schedule. The incident in Dadri where a man was allegedly killed for consuming beef is highly misfortunate and should not have happened. However the charge sheet does not mention beef anywhere, and the incident should not be politicized.

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The first case was of Mohammad Hanif Qureshi v. State of Bihar[3] in the year 1958 where the Supreme Court had to decide if the ban on cow slaughter in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh were an infringement of the fundamental rights of the petitioner granted under Article 14, 19(1) g, 25 of the Indian constitution. The Court gave the contention that directive in Art. 48[4] allow the State to prevent the slaughter of cows and calves and other animals that are presently or will potentially be incapable of yielding milk or of doing work as a draught). The Court further mentioned that directive principles should run as subsidiary to the fundamental rights.

The Committee on National Integration had suggested some measures in 1969 regarding the manner of celebrating festivals to cultivate a sense of respect for religious beliefs and prevention of acts of desecration of idols or violation of customs observed by others. There should be a sense of peace and brotherhood among people to keep the anti-national and religiously conflicting ideas away.

The media should spread the message of brotherhood and secularism rather than try to politicize every petty issue. Repeat a lie thousand times and it becomes the truth. This should not be the agenda of the media to defame the current government that is working towards a smart and developed nation. Implementation of the uniform civil code that would bring uniformity in personal laws as it would bring every citizen of the country under one roof. To reduce the burden of the judiciary and to improve the secular concept of the country, it is mandatory to do away with personal laws.

Footnotes:

[1] ADM Jabalpur v. S K Shukla, AIR 1976 SC 1207

[2] Submitted under Justice Nanavati Report of inquiry to Ministry Of Home Affairs

[3] 1958 AIR 731

[4] The State shall Endeavour to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle

 

 

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