Millennium Post

Religious tolerance

In his opening remark at the 46th Governors’ Conference in New Delhi, President Pranab Mukherjee went out of his way, asking governors to ensure peace and communal harmony. The statement was at the two-day conference attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cabinet ministers, 21 Governors and two Lieutenant Governors, have hit the headlines. Without directly referring to the raging controversy surrounding religious conversions and reported hate speeches by our leaders, President Pranab Mukerjee had also passed on a strong message for religious tolerance in his Republic Day address to the nation. Mukherjee‘s clamour for greater tolerance in many ways is a stern message for the present dispensation and fringe elements across all religions, who have consistently vitiated the communal atmosphere. These fringe elements include Dr Muhammad Qasim Faktoo, who asked Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir to marry more than once and produce more children to “prevent a change in the state’s Muslim-majority status’” It also includes Sadhvi Prachi Arya, a prominent Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader, who said that the ‘Ghar Wapsi’ programme will continue till the fifteen crore people are “reconverted to Hinduism”. Unfortunately, however, you’ve also had union ministers making claims that have vitiated the communal atmosphere. Although the President took no names, the implicit warning to the current dispensation lies in his statements surrounding its decision to promulgate one ordinance after another, without adequately addressing the faults of its reactionary allies. Religious intolerance, by its very existence, goes against the very grain of what it means to be an Indian citizen.
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