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19 Feb, 2015

For India, Secularism is not a policy option – The Hindu

Contrary to what many in the BJP seem to think, secularism is not a policy option for a government, but one of the original principles that inform the Constitution. ‘Secular’, as a word to describe the Indian Republic, might have been added to the Preamble only in 1976, but the freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion under Article 25 is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution. Protecting the right of all persons to freedom of religion is the constitutional duty of the government of the day. Indeed, freedom of religion is integral to any democratic society, and India, by definition, cannot remain a democracy without allowing its citizens the freedom to practise a religion of their choice. A government that cannot ensure the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution equally to all its citizens will quickly lose its political legitimacy and representative character. Certainly, Mr. Modi would not want his government to hurtle down that path.

Read the rest: Secularism is not a policy option – The Hindu.