Friday, February 12, 2016

Press Statement by concerned citizens: Delhi Government should not sponsor Saraswati Puja

Press Statement

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 the Constitution 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 sponsorship, 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:

Aasavari , Researcher, Lokniti, CSDS
Achin Vanaik, Academic
Aditya Nigam, Academic, CSDS
AKP Sinha, Ciitzen
Ali Javed, PWA
Amalendu Upadhyaya, Editor www.hastakshep.com
Amit Bhaduri, JNU
Amit Malik
Amit Nain
Anand Patwardhan, filmmaker
Anita Rampal, Academic, DU
Ann Ninan
Apoorvanand, Academic, DU
Aradhna Pradhan, Research Scholar, JMI
Asheesh Mamgain, Journalist
Ashok Lal, Dramatist
Ayesha Kidwai, Academic, JNU
Bipin Kumar Sharma
Bonojit Hussain
Chitra Joshi
Dhruv Narayan , Managing Editor, Samajik, CSD
Dilip Simeon
Dipak Dholakia (people's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism - PADS)
Dipta Bhog, Writer and Educator
Dunu Roy
Dwaipayan Bhattacharya, Academic, JNU
Dwijendra Kali, Academic, DU
Farah Naqvi, writer and Educator
Ghazala Jameel, JNU
Girish Nikam, Journalist
Harbans Mukhia, Historian
Haridas T
Harsh Kapoor
Harsh Mander, Writer, Social Activist
Iqbal Ahmad, Journalist
Ira Singh
Jagdeep Chhokar
Janaki Nair, Academic, JNU
Janaki Rajan, Academic, JMI
John Dayal, Member, National Integration Council
K. M. Shrimali, Historian
Kausar Wizarat
Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA
Kavita Srivastava, PUCL
Kirti Jain, Theatre Director
Kumar Prashant, GPF
Kumar Sundaram, CNDP
Leena Dabiru, Lawyer
M. Aamir Khan, Activist
Madhavi Kane
Madhu Bhaduri
Mahtab Alam, Amnesty International
Manasi Thapliyal, Academic, AUD
Manoj Jha, Academic, DU
Manoj Mitta, Journalist
Mansi Sharma, Social Activist
Moggallan Bharti, Research Scholar
Monami Basu, Academic, Kamla Nehru College, DU
Mukul Dube
Mukul Kesvan, Academic, JMI
Mukul Mangalik
Mukul Priyadarshini, Academic, Miranda House, DU
Mushirul Hasan, Academic
N D Pancholi, lawyer
N. Jayaram, Bangalore
Naveen Gaur, Academic, Dayal Singh college, DU
Navrekha Sharma
Neelima Sharma
Nidhi Gulati, Academic, DU
Nishant Natya Manch
Nivedita Menon, Academic, JNU
Omita Goyal, Editor
Ovais Sultan Khan, Activist
Pamela Philipose
PK Ravindranathan
Poonam Batra, Academic, DU
Prabhat Kumar , Research Scholar, DU
Pradeep Kumar Datta, Academic
Purwa Bharadwaj, Writer and Educator
Rahul Govind, Academic, DU
Rahul Pandita
Rahul Roy, Film Maker
Rajesh Sinha
Ram Rahman, Photographer, Designer
Ramesh Mumukshu, RTI Activist
Rana P Behal
Richa Kohli
Rizwana Fatima, Research Scholar, Du
Romila Thapar, Historian
S V Rajadurai
Sadhna Saxena, Academic, DU
Sakshi Aravind
Samuel Philip Mathew, 'Studies in History', Centre for Historical Studies, JNU 
Sandeep Tanwar, Academic
Sania Hashmi, Filmmaker
Sanjay Kumar, People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism
Sanjay Sahay, Editor, Hans
Sanjeev Kumar, Academic, Desh Bandhu College, DU
Sarah Hashmi, Actress
Sarita Sabiruddin
Satish Deshpande, Academic, DU
Satya Shivraman, Writer and Researcher
Satyam Shrivastava, Director, Sruti
Shabnam Hashmi, Social Activist
Shahid Anwar, Dramatist
Shameera Ashroff
Shamsul Islam
Shikha Sen
Shirin
Shweta Tripathi, Drector, Sruti
Sohail Hashmi, Filmmaker, Writer
Sonia Jabbar
Sonia Mamgain
Subhash Gatade, New Socialist Initiative
Suman Keshari
Sumithra
Tanvir Aeiyaz, Ramjas College, DU
Tapan Bose
Udaya Kumar, Academic, JNU
Vineet Tiwari, PWA
Vineeta Bal, Delhi
Vinerjeet Kaur
Vipin Tripathi
Vrinda Grover, lawyer
Zoya Hasan, Academic