Religious freedom is a fundamental human right that allows us to think and express ourselves. It allows us to deeply believe something and act upon it. It allows faith and belief to grow inside a human being’s mind. It is a principle that supports freedom of an entire community. It includes freedom to change one’s religion or not to believe in any religion. But it doesn’t allow you to practice the religion openly or in a way that it would anyone else’s sentiment. Religious freedom is an important part of democracy, contributing to social peace at some extent. No person has to worry about being punished while practicing a religion that they like with peace.
Religion is the recognition of all our duties as divine commands.
This right is not absolute and depends on public order, morality and health.
But even today, there are many countries where you can see the worst religious freedom. These are Burma, China, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. The concerns include public religious dresses, like, Hijab, Kippah, and Christian cross.
Article 18 of UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights limits restrictions on freedom to manifest one’s religion to protect public safety of others. In 2009, 70% of the world’s population lived in countries where there was no religious freedom. This included restriction on free speeches and making social or religious groups.
Religious freedom in India is guaranteed by Article 25-28 by the Constitution of India. Every Indian citizen has a right to promote their religion in a peaceful manner. There are many incidents where there was no peaceful promotion of religion but derogatory way of trying to mislead people from their respective religious beliefs. For example, 1984 Anti-Sikh Massacre in Delhi, 1990 Anti-Hindu Riots in Kashmir, 2002 Gujarat Riots, etc.
Article 25: Freedom of practice and propagation of religion
Article 26: Freedom to manage religious affairs
Article 27: Freedom whether to pay taxes for promotion of any religion
Article 28: Freedom of religious worship in institutions.
I went through news on June 8th in Times Malta online newspaper. There was a headline ‘RELIGIOUS FREEDOM UNDER THREAT AS NEVER BEFORE’
Yes! You read that write. Over 5.2 Billion people suffer violations in the name of religious freedom everyday around the globe. In ANI, South Asia’s Leading Multimedia News Agency explained how religious freedom qualifies Pakistan to be designated as a terror sponsor.
However, talking about our educational system, no religious instructions shall be provided in any institution until and unless it has been administered by State and is established under any trust.
PEACE, TOLERANCE AND RESPECT
These are the three keys which should be maintained in religious freedom.
The objective of this right is that State shall not give preference to one religion over another.
Being a secular country, India doesn’t have its own religion and every citizen has the right to choose and accept whatever religion they believe in but no person can do any act which disturbs other people or their sentiments or which is opposed by the public policy.