UP Govt’s Order to Hold Akhand Ramayana Recitation Challenged in Allahabad HC

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“If India does not remain secular, its democratic and secular structure will weaken. It will pose a threat to the citizens of this country. If we want to strengthen India, we will have to strengthen its secular structure,” the petitioner said

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — The Uttar Pradesh government’s directive to district administrations on the recitation of Akhand Ramayana and holding of other religious activities during the Ramanavami and Navratri celebrations has been challenged in Allahabad High Court.

Calling it a “crime against the constitution”, the petitioner and noted social activist Rajiv Yadav demanded a stay on the order.  The petition was filed on Thursday. 

Earlier, Yadav severely criticised the government order and linked it with the concept of Hindu Rashtra propounded by Hindutva groups.

The petition, to come up for hearing on Tuesday, seeks a stay on the Yogi Adityanath government’s notification, its operation, and the release of money from the exchequer for the purpose.

The notification issued on 10 March talks about pooja (worship) of Hindu goddess Ma Durga during Navratri and points to the benefits of performing the pooja. The district administrations were also asked to hold religious events including recitation of Akhand Ramayana. The government also decided to allocate Rs. 1 lakh to all districts to carry out these religious activities.   

“By the impugned notification the state government decided to celebrate the Chaitra Ramnavami – a Hindu religious festival, through the state machinery; which directly violates the provisions of the constitution of India,” reads the petition.

The petition, filed through counsels Rakesh Kumar Gupta and Akhilesh Kumar Gupta, makes the Principal Secretary of Uttar Pradesh government, Secretary of the Culture Department and Secretary of the Tourism Department respondents in the matter.

In his petition, Yadav argued that the secretaries in the government have taken the decision to “please their political masters, only with the intention to secure their important posts”.

“That the impugned notification is directly challenging the way and provisions of the constitution of India which the forefathers of the nation have decided for a democratic development of the country,” reads the petition.              

After filing the petition, Yadav said the government was trying to propagate a particular religion by using government institutions. “India has been dreamt of and conceptualized as a state which will not encourage any religion. This order is against this concept. That’s why I have filed this petition,” he said.

Yadav said that he also demanded punishment for those officials who have issued the notification. It will discourage anyone who wanted to do any such thing in the future.

“If India does not remain secular, its democratic and secular structure will weaken. It will pose a threat to the citizens of this country. If we want to strengthen India, we will have to strengthen its secular structure,” he said.     

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