Religion personal, people should be Indians first, says Scindia

New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Friday said the faith of an individual must remain a private affair and all citizens should identify themselves first and foremost as Indians.

“I am a Hindu. I am married to a Hindu, but my religion is personal to me,” he said, adding that he would not impose his faith or belief over others.

“I want people to be Indian first,” he said, participating in a discussion on ‘Commitment to Constitution’ as part of 125th birth anniversary celebration of Bhimrao Ambedkar in the Lok Sabha.

The Congress leader said the country could not be divided on the basis of religion, castes or class.

He said the Narendra Modi government was not comfortable with the term “secularism”, and the ministers were being “encouraged” to make comments that could destroy peace among different communities in the country.

The government could not decide what people would eat or wear, Scindia said, referring to the incident in which a resident of Dadri (Uttar Pradesh) was lynched by a mob on allegations that he ate and stored beef in his home.

He also criticized Assam Governor P.B. Acharya for his comments on Muslims in the country, whereby the governor was quoted as saying, “Indian Muslims are free to go anywhere. Many stay here. Many go to Pakistan.”

“What is left in the country” if a governor could make such a statement, Scindia said.

“If we want our country to be free, we would have to keep our religions and cultures free,” he added, urging the government not to allow anybody to make communal comments as the country could not grow divided.

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