UP govt’s Ramayana recitation order violates constitution, assert activists

New Delhi, Mar 17 (KMS):  Bharatiya Janata Party government under leadership of Yogi Adityanath in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has stirred another controversy for directing administrations across the state to hold recitation of ‘Durga Saptshati’, ‘Devi Gayan,’ ‘Devi Jagran,’ ‘Akhand Ramayana,’  and ‘Jhankis’ during Ram Navami and Navratri celebrations.

Social activists in UP have criticised the order and termed it illegal, against the spirit of secularism and ultra vires of the Indian constitution.

The cultural department of the Adityanath government directed all districts in the state to organise special events in temples. The government even sanctioned Rs 100,000 to all districts to facilitate these events. Two nodal officers have also been appointed to implement the government directive.

The move has come under fire from activists.

SR Darapuri, prominent activist and former IPS officer, criticised the government move calling it a “violation of the constitution and secularism”.

“They are implementing their agenda of Hindu rashtra (nation). Yogi had said that India will have to become Hindu rashtra. Now, he is acting as if the country is already a Hindu rashtra. These events are being held to depict India as a Hindu nation. These are the examples of what will be done in the Hindu rashtra,” said Darapuri.

He pointed out that the people associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) do not believe in secularism. They believe in ‘Panthnirpeksh’ not ‘Dharmnirpeksh’. They feel that India is already a Hindu nation and their leaders are projecting it as such.

“As per Hindu rashtra concept, Hindus and their religion will have dominance over all others. Others will have to follow their concept of Hinduism. Others can only do what they would allow them to do. This is against secularism and the constitutional system,” he said.

Another activist, Rajiv Yadav, echoed Darapuri’s opinion and called the decision of the state government “illegal”.

“I want to ask one thing: Whether the government held any event to recite the constitution? This country is being run as per the constitution. If you really believe in this country, you should have held the recitation of the constitution. You are insulting the constitution by holding religious events,” said Yadav.

He also questioned spending of public money into religious work as people do not pay taxes for propagating any particular religion. This is an attempt to legalise the Brahminical and Manuvadi concepts of a Hindu nation. “This is illegal. The state is legalising it by issuing a circular in this regard,” he said.

Yadav also pointed out the contradictions in government decisions by referring to the anti-conversion laws. On the one hand, the government is holding religious events for the majority while it is curtailing religious freedom of minorities by making laws against conversion and inter-faith marriage.

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