NCM demands reversal of Guj Govt decision; communities protest
New Delhi, Sept 20: A day after Gujarat government passed a
controversial amendment to include Jains and Buddhists as part of
Hindu community, the move evoked sharp reactions here with national
commission for minorities demanding a reversal of the decision and
concerned community leaders seeking "freedom of identity".
"The commission would urge the government to re-examine the matter as
it effects the rights of a religious minority." NCM officials said
adding the commission has already received representations from the
Buddhist organisations in the matter.
Describing the passing of the amendment by the Gujarat assembly as a
"matter of great concern", the commission demanded an immediate
reversal of the decision.
BJP government in Gujarat yesterday passed an amendment in the Gujarat
freedom of religion act clubbing Jainism and Buddhism with Hinduism.
Intimidated by the move by Gujarat government, Buddhist parliamentary
forum said "Buddhism is one of the great religions of the world and
has its adherence in many lands."
"Any move to impinge upon the distinct identity of Buddhism and its
adherents would have ramifications that are best avoided" informed
Lama Sodpa, leader of the forum, told media persons here.
Calling an emergency meeting on the issue, All India Digambar Jain
Mahasabha said it will launch a protest against the move.
"Any government, as per there convenience and agenda cannot afford to
curb our right of a religious identity." N K Jain, president of All
India Digamber Jain Mahasabha, said.
The Jain Mahasabha has also written a letter to Gujarat Governor Naval
Kishore Sharma to intervene in the matter and stop the state
government from going ahead with any such move.
All India Confederation of SC/ST organisations has also reacted
sharply to the move and has asked the state government to maintain
right to religious freedom of an individual.
"Every religion has its distinct identity. Religions like Buddhism and
Jainism, have its origin dating back to more than two millennium and
this fact can in no way be negated." Confederation chairman Udit Raj
Incidently, one such statement by a top RSS leader few years back
suggesting Sikhs as a part of the Hindu fold had evoked widespread
protest across the country.