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India: Delhi Government should not sponsor Saraswati Puja - concerned citizens statement

12 February 2016

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Press Statement

Date: 12 February 2016

Delhi Government should not sponsor Saraswati Puja

We citizens and residents of Delhi are alarmed to hear of the official decision by Government of Delhi as announced by its Minister of Tourism to hold a large scale religious ceremony in the form of Saraswati Puja on February 13, 2016 at the Central Park in the heart of Delhi. We believe that while state institutions concerned with public safety must do their duty at religious events, the state’s responsibility must end there. The government must not use public funds to sponsor religious events.

This decision by the Government of Delhi violates the secular character of theConstitution and sets an unacceptable administrative and legal precedent, because it will open doors open for misuse of public money. Citizens who are religious believers are free to hold any religious ritual at their will and expense. They can also seek state intervention if their freedom of religion is constrained in any way. But as regards sponsorhip, the state machinery should stay neutral.

  • We wish to make clear that our position on this is not directed at any particular form of belief and would be the same for all religions.
  • We ask the Government of Delhi to desist from sponsoring the announced Saraswati Puja, and leave it to citizen’s bodies to perform pujas.
  • We demand that government return the funds spent on preparations for the event to the public exchequer.
  • We also request the artists scheduled perform at the upcoming Puja to avoid supporting this event until it is made clear that it is a private and not state-sponsored function.

Signed by:

  1. Aasavari , Researcher, Lokniti, CSDS
  2. Achin Vanaik, Academic
  3. Aditya Nigam, Academic, CSDS
  4. AKP Sinha, Ciitzen
  5. Ali Javed, PWA
  6. Amalendu Upadhyaya, Editor www.hastakshep.com
  7. Amit Bhaduri, JNU
  8. Amit Malik
  9. Amit Nain
  10. Anand Patwardhan, filmmaker
  11. Anita Rampal, Academic, DU
  12. Ann Ninan
  13. Apoorvanand, Academic, DU
  14. Aradhna Pradhan, Research Scholar, JMI
  15. Asheesh Mamgain, Journalist
  16. Ashok Lal, Dramatist
  17. Ayesha Kidwai, Academic, JNU
  18. Bipin Kumar Sharma
  19. Bonojit Hussain
  20. Chitra Joshi
  21. Dhruv Narayan , Managing Editor, Samajik, CSD
  22. Dilip Simeon
  23. Dipak Dholakia (people’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism - PADS)
  24. Dipta Bhog, Writer and Educator
  25. Dunu Roy
  26. Dwaipayan Bhattacharya, Academic, JNU
  27. Dwijendra Kali, Academic, DU
  28. Farah Naqvi, writer and Educator
  29. Ghazala Jameel, JNU
  30. Girish Nikam, Journalist
  31. Harbans Mukhia, Historian
  32. Haridas T
  33. Harsh Kapoor, sacw.net
  34. Harsh Mander, Writer, Social Activist
  35. Iqbal Ahmad, Journalist
  36. Ira Singh
  37. Jagdeep Chhokar
  38. Janaki Nair, Academic, JNU
  39. Janaki Rajan, Academic, JMI
  40. John Dayal, Member, National Integration Council
  41. K. M. Shrimali, Historian
  42. Kausar Wizarat
  43. Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA
  44. Kavita Srivastava, PUCL
  45. Kirti Jain, Theatre Director
  46. Kumar Prashant, GPF
  47. Kumar Sundaram, CNDP
  48. Leena Dabiru, Lawyer
  49. M. Aamir Khan, Activist
  50. Madhavi Kane
  51. Madhu Bhaduri
  52. Mahtab Alam, Amnesty International
  53. Manasi Thapliyal, Academic, AUD
  54. Manoj Jha, Academic, DU
  55. Manoj Mitta, Journalist
  56. Mansi Sharma, Social Activist
  57. Moggallan Bharti, Research Scholar
  58. Monami Basu, Academic, Kamla Nehru College, DU
  59. Mukul Dube
  60. Mukul Kesvan, Academic, JMI
  61. Mukul Mangalik
  62. Mukul Priyadarshini, Academic, Miranda House, DU
  63. Mushirul Hasan, Academic
  64. N D Pancholi, lawyer
  65. N. Jayaram, Bangalore
  66. Naveen Gaur, Academic, Dayal Singh college, DU
  67. Navrekha Sharma
  68. Neelima Sharma
  69. Nidhi Gulati, Academic, DU
  70. Nishant Natya Manch
  71. Nivedita Menon, Academic, JNU
  72. Omita Goyal, Editor
  73. Ovais Sultan Khan, Activist
  74. Pamela Philipose
  75. PK Ravindranathan
  76. Poonam Batra, Academic, DU
  77. Prabhat Kumar , Research Scholar, DU
  78. Pradeep Kumar Datta, Academic
  79. Purwa Bharadwaj, Writer and Educator
  80. Rahul Govind, Academic, DU
  81. Rahul Pandita
  82. Rahul Roy, Film Maker
  83. Rajesh Sinha
  84. Ram Rahman, Photographer, Designer
  85. Ramesh Mumukshu, RTI Activist
  86. Rana P Behal
  87. Richa Kohli
  88. Rizwana Fatima, Research Scholar, Du
  89. Romila Thapar, Historian
  90. S V Rajadurai
  91. Sadhna Saxena, Academic, DU
  92. Sakshi Aravind
  93. Samuel Philip Mathew, ’Studies in History’, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU
  94. Sandeep Tanwar, Academic
  95. Sania Hashmi, Filmmaker
  96. Sanjay Kumar, People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism
  97. Sanjay Sahay, Editor, Hans
  98. Sanjeev Kumar, Academic, Desh Bandhu College, DU
  99. Sarah Hashmi, Actress
  100. Sarita Sabiruddin
  101. Satish Deshpande, Academic, DU
  102. Satya Shivraman, Writer and Researcher
  103. Satyam Shrivastava, Director, Sruti
  104. Shabnam Hashmi, Social Activist
  105. Shahid Anwar, Dramatist
  106. Shameera Ashroff
  107. Shamsul Islam
  108. Shikha Sen
  109. Shirin
  110. Shweta Tripathi, Drector, Sruti
  111. Sohail Hashmi, Filmamker, Writer
  112. Sonia Jabbar
  113. Sonia Mamgain
  114. Subhash Gatade, New Socialist Initiative
  115. Suman Keshari
  116. Sumithra
  117. Tanvir Aeiyaz, Ramjas College, DU
  118. Tapan Bose
  119. Udaya Kumar, Academic, JNU
  120. Vineet Tiwari, PWA
  121. Vineeta Bal, Delhi
  122. Vinerjeet Kaur
  123. Vipin Tripathi
  124. Vrinda Grover, lawyer
  125. Zoya Hasan, Academic