Sunday, December 13, 2009

Guard against religious majorityism, stresses Chidambaram

New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) Two legal luminaries locked horns in the Rajya Sabha Thursday, with Home Minister P. Chidambaram cautioning against dividing the country's polity on religious lines and Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) countering that the minorities needed to be protected but not at the cost of the majority.

Chidambaram's remarks came at the fag end of his reply to a 10-hour discussion spread over two days on the Liberhan Commission report on the Babri Masjid demolition and the government's action taken report (ATR) were in response to what Jaitley had said while participating in the discussion Wednesday.

"To divide polity on the basis of religion is dangerous," Chidambaram maintained, adding: "Please do not try to create a division on the lines of colour or religion."

"You can construct a majority on a political ideology, an idea, a theory, a principle. I can accept that. But if you construct a platform on religion, that cannot be accepted," the minister contended.

Jaitley replied that his argument was not of majorityism.

"India is secular. We must protect the minorities but not at the discrimination of the majority because of vote ban politics," he contended.

For good measure, Chidambaram prefaced his remarks by saying religions like Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism, Islam, Zorastrianism and Sikhism had come to India between 6 BC and the 1490s.

"All these religions are Indian religions. Those who practice them are as Indian as any other Indian," he contended.

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