Secularism is now termed as appeasement: Chidambaram

Secularism is now termed as appeasement: Chidambaram

Kolkata, Nov 25 (PTI) Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday said the word secularism is being given a different twist and termed as appeasement.

The former union home minister who had also held the finance portfolio, said at a lecture on the 'Future of Democracy' at St Xavier’s University here that the word secularism is being misinterpreted.

He said, 'Appeasement word is an attempt at discrediting (the concept of secularism).” With a wry smile, he added, “If you are a non-Hindu, you are a half-citizen. If you are a Muslim, you are not a citizen.” Asserting that religion ought not figure in an election, he said, 'But today it is very much present in an election.” Religion must be based on faith, the senior Congress leader said.

Observing that the country is moving towards centralisation which is an antithesis of democracy, Chidambaram said, 'We are undermining, debilitating institutions that promote democracy.' He claimed that the media, the common man, the MPs in Parliament and the top bureaucracy are living in fear now and that is also an antithesis of democracy.

Chidambaram alleged that central agencies are virtually taking control of state law and the police police in many cases.

Describing the move to roll out a uniform civil code as 'anti-democratic', Chidambaram said the idea of 'one nation, one ration card, one food habit, one language is completely undemocratic.' The Congress leader claimed that the happenings make one describe India as an 'electoral autocracy' subverting the democratic process to only elect someone to power.

The senior politician and lawyer alleged that in several Hindi-speaking states, there is no English class in certain schools as no English teacher is there.

'It is affecting the education there.. in North Indian states. Only southern states have the three-language formula,' he added. PTI SUS NN

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