New Delhi: Asserting that minority rights are more safe in India than in any part of the world, minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Thursday said secularism is in India’s DNA. His remarks came amid a controversy over the Delhi Archbishop’s letter on “turbulent political atmosphere” in the country.
However, the minister refused to answer when specifically asked about Archbishop Anil Couto’s controversial letter.
“We have to be cautious against those forces who want to disturb the atmosphere of trust and development due to their prejudiced mindset and vested interests,” Mr Naqvi told members from Diocese of Delhi under Church of North India during a meeting.
Noting that the Central government is committed to Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas and Development with Dignity without any discrimination, the minister also said the Modi government was committed to protect all constitutional institutions, democratic values and religious rights of all sections.
“Secularism, social-communal harmony and tolerance is in India’s DNA and compared to the entire world, constitutional, social, cultural and religious rights of minorities are more safe and secure in India,” the minister added.
Mr Naqvi also apprised the delegation of various programmes being run by his ministry aimed at socio-economic-educational empowerment of minorities.
The meeting took place days after Delhi Archbishop Couto kicked up a storm with his remark that a “turbulent political atmosphere” posed a threat to India’s democratic principles and secular fabric, a charge rejected by the government which said the comment reflected his “prejudiced” mindset.
Mr Couto had written a letter to all parish priests and religious institutions in the Delhi archdiocese a few days before the May 12 Karnataka elections, calling for a “prayer campaign” ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The archbishop, who also asked Christians to fast every Friday “for the nation”, later clarified that his letter had nothing to do with the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.