Ayodhya Ram temple consecration | Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan urges people to reaffirm commitment to ‘secular’ credentials of nation

Pinarayi Vijayan expresses his concern that of late, the line that demarcates religion and State seemed to be getting thinner

January 22, 2024 03:38 pm | Updated 04:28 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (file)

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (file) | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has called upon people to reaffirm their commitment to the secular credentials of the nation and its Constitution by declining to be a part of the inauguration of the Ram temple at Ayodhya.

In his message, released soon after the inauguration of the temple at Ayodhya on January 22 (Monday), Mr. Vijayan expressed his concern that of late, the line that demarcates religion and State seemed to be getting thinner.

Ayodhya Ram temple inauguration LIVE updates, Jan 22 2024

This was contrary to the affirmation of the first Prime Minister of the nation, Jawaharlal Nehru, that Indian secularism should mean a clear separation between religion and the State, he said.

“We have come to a point in time when the inauguration of a religious place of worship in the country is being celebrated as a state event,” Mr. Vijayan said.

Shri Ram Lalla idol unveiled; PM Narendra Modi offers prayers at Ram Temple | Video Credit: Special Arrangement

This is a major departure from the times when our Constitutional office-bearers would be cautious about taking part in religious event as it would cast aspersions on their credentials as a secular state, he said.

Secularism is the soul of the democratic republic of India. It has been part of India’s identity as a nation right from the days of the national movement. Those belonging to different faiths as well as those who were not part of any religion had taken an active part in the Indian freedom struggle. This nation thus belongs to all people and all sections of Indian society in equal measure, Mr. Vijayan reiterated.

‘Religion is a private affair’

Religion is a private affair and the Indian Constitution clearly states that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and have the right to freely profess, practise and propagate religion, he said.

“As those who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of India, we should ensure that every person within our territories enjoys this right in equal measure. At the same time, we cannot be promoting one religion above all others, or demean one religion beneath every other,” Mr. Vijayan said in his message.

He said that the occasion of the opening of the Ram temple should be used as an opportunity to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities.

The nation’s prosperity lies in the development of scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform, he added.

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