nion Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday said here that forced religious conversion cannot be a testament of expansion of any religion in a country where both, believers and atheists coexist.
Interacting with prominent people of the Christian community from across the country here, Naqvi said both, the believers and the atheists have equal constitutional and social rights and protection in India.
Naqvi said while on one hand, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Jews, Baha’is, and believers of almost all other religions of the world live in India; on the other hand, crores of atheists also exist in the country with equal constitutional and social rights.
Naqvi said India is the only country in the world where festivals and other joyous occasions of all the religions are celebrated together.
‘We need to keep this shared cultural heritage and legacy of co-existence strengthened. Any attempt to disturb this fabric of unity and harmony will hurt the soul of India,’ he said.
‘Followers of almost all the religions of the world live in India and constitutional and social guarantee and safety of their religious, social, economic, educational rights is the beauty of our strength of ‘Unity in Diversity’, ‘ he said.
‘It is our collective national responsibility to ensure that India’s culture of tolerance and commitment of co-existence is not allowed to get weaken under any circumstances,’ Naqvi said.
‘Religious bigotry and in-tolerance can never hurt India as our country is the world’s largest centre of spiritual-religious knowledge, and also the source of inspiration for ‘Sarva Dharma Sambhav’ and ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, ‘ he said.
Minister of State for Minority Affairs John Barla; National Commission for Minorities Chairman Sardar Iqbal Singh Lalpura; Ministry of Minority Affairs Secretary Renuka Kumar; Archbishop Anil Joseph; Bishop Subodh C Mandal and other prominent people from religious, social, educational, health, art and culture fields from across the country were present on the occasion.