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  • » 01/13/2011, 00.00


    Indian activist: Freedom of religion, foundation of human life and democracy

    Lenin Raghuvanshi

    Lenin Raghuvanshi comments on the Pope's address to the diplomatic corps to AsiaNews. Life and human dignity are related to religious freedom, the fundamental value of any society that calls itself democratic. If it is denied, the state is pushed towards fascism.

    New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Benedict XVI is absolutely clear and correct: the foundation of human life itself is religious freedom. " It is also "one of the most basic democratic values inherent in development." Lenin Raghuvanshi, Indian human rights activist and avowed atheist, comments on the Pope's address to the diplomatic corps. Raghuvanshi, awarded the Weimar Human Rights Award in 2010 and the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights in 2007, defines the protests in Cairo against the Vatican "preposterous and condemnable." When it comes to human rights, nothing is "unacceptable interference" or "an internal matter" because human rights are universal.

    Every human right violation in any corner of the globe has to be denounced , inequality and injustice opposed. We belong to a shared humanity and are bound together by shared interests and shared values.

    Certain values are universal, the freedom to practice your faith without fear or restriction, these are universal values that must be observed everywhere.

    It is the duty of the State to provide security to all peoples and it is a failed state, when the Christians are being killed in Egypt because of their religion, the Pope has to call the world’s attention to the tragic situation.

    Religious freedom is the basic foundation for a secular democratic society especially pluralistic societies around the globe.  If Religious Freedom is denied, the state and society is being pushed to a Fascist State.  And in a fascist state -  the majority community denies the minority community the rights to practice their Faith and perform their own religious rituals of worship.  For example., in Indonesia and Pakistan and Middle East, where non Muslims are targeted.  In Gujarat, the Muslims were victimized, in Kandhamal the Christians were persecuted .

    Human life and Human Dignity is connected with Religious Freedom, when a person has the freedom to express his Spirituality and human aspirations, he receives the strength to hope for a better future.

    Religious Freedom besides being the first human right is also one of the fundamental democratic values closely connected with development, these 3 are the basis for the future of society and forge new ties and greater understanding between nations of the world and will help humanity towards becoming a more just and a more free society.

    The Holy Father is absolutely correct, and history is also witness that when religious freedom is denied it gives rise to violent extremism and the way forward for world leaders in rooting out extremists and combating such violence is to guarantee and protect religious freedom in an inclusive government.

    (Nirmala Carvalho collaborated)


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    See also

    10/12/2009 INDIA – HUMAN RIGHTS
    Human rights violated by extremism as well as religious and social discrimination
    For activist Lenin Raghuvanshi, “the human rights situation in India is shameful”. Religious fundamentalism but also “torture by police” and the “collapse of rule of law” are to blame. The country suffers from a “mindset” that hurts the weakest and non-Hindu minorities.

    30/06/2010 INDIA
    For atheist human rights activist, crucifix in Italian classrooms not against secularism
    According to Lenin Raghuvanshi, “Human rights and democracy do not exist in a vacuum, in a value-neutral space. Denying the identity, culture and history of a society is a violation of secularism and human rights.”

    29/12/2010 INDIA
    Pope is correct on religious freedom, Indian activist says
    Human rights activist Lenin Raghuvanshi talks to AsiaNews about Benedict XVI’s message for World Peace Day in which the Pontiff said that “religious freedom is the path towards peace”. He illustrates the issue by discussing the case of India, caught up in the turmoil of Hindu fundamentalist nationalism.

    01/07/2008 INDIA
    More than 1,500 people die of torture in Indian prison, human rights activist says
    Commenting data from a report released this year on violence in his country, Lenin Raghuvanshi slams the arbitrary use of force by law enforcement to extract confessions. In the five years covered by the report, from 2002 to 2007, almost 7,500 died in custody.

    02/05/2011 INDIA
    Atheist praises John Paul II on human rights and love for one’s enemy
    Human rights activist Lenin Raghuvanshi speaks to AsiaNews about the teachings of the Polish-born pope on human rights, a day after the latter’s beatification. Together with Mother Teresa, he showed how poverty is a form of violence.

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