Towards Equality, Justice and Fraternity in Contemporary India : Creating a better Tomorrow Through Law

The government is deliberately targeting the community which is against the spirit of the constitution - Justice Rajinder Sachar...

Two days National Seminar by Institute of Objective Studies, Delhi

A Two days seminar 'Towards Equality, Justice and Fraternity in Contemporary India : Creating a better Tomorrow Through Law' being organised by Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi at the Aliah University, Kolkata started with a elaborative address by Justice Rajinder Sachar, former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court.

Justice Rajinder Sachar talked about the growing economic disparity among Muslims and spoke for providing affirmative action to them. The government is deliberately targeting the community which is against the spirit of the constitution. Muslim need constitutional protection and all those who are speaking against secularism actually are working against Indian constitution.

Prof T K Ooman delivered a very thought provoking address and challenged the popular notion of nation state. He openly advocated that the state must not intervene in the cultural practices of diverse communities that live in India.

He suggested mere constitutional provisions will never bring fraternity among citizens unless they learn to respect cultural diversity of the people. The government has no right to intrude into the personal affairs and cultural practices of communities he said.

Justice Ruma Pal, former judge of the Supreme Court spoke of the Personal laws and suggested that changes must come from within from the community and efforts to make as Uniform will not succeed.

She suggested that Constitutional provisions will always defend women's right when they are violated hence it will always override any personal laws when they are violated.

Justice K J Sengupta, former Chief Justice of Hyderabad and now Lokayukta of Sikkim High Court asked people to work at the grassroot and think over the common issues.

He also advised people to register their marriages under the Special Marriage Act, after Nikah as it will then protect women much more than anything else. Institute of Objective Studies Chairman Dr Manzoor Alam also spoke on the occasion.

In the Business Session presided over by Mr Afjal Wani saw Prof S R Mondal speaking on knowledge Era, Ris society and Better Tomorrow : Global Challenges and local responses.

Noted writer and activist Shri Ram Puniyani spoke of the danger of the communal polarisation unleashed by the Sangh Parivar through creating biases and prejudices. We need to join hand to defeat the communal fascist forces.

He said we must speak to counter the narrative being rumoured by the Sangh Parivar and it is time for all the political parties to join hands. Also it is important for the civil society organisations to work diligently together.

He also said that technically our constitution is the best in the world but it need to fairly implemented at the ground level.

There were presentations from young scholars on Triple Talaq issues, role of Muslim Personal Law Board.

A book, 'Exclusions of Muslims in India Legitimacy : Legitimacy of the Constitutional State'' written by Mr Arsi Khan was also released on the occasion by the Justice Rajinder Sachar and all other dignitaries.

Prof Abu Talib Khan, the Vice Chancellor of Allah University Kolkata, welcomed the guests and hope the seminar would provide vision to face the future challenges.

IOS Secretary General Prof Z M Khan gave a glimpse of IOS work during the past 30 years including the publications of over 430 books, organising seminars as well as providing scholarships to needy students.

In his Speech IOS chairman Dr Manzoor Alam said that 2017-18 are landmark years. He said India is celebrating its 70th year of independence in 2017. The nation in 2018 will also be observing 70 years of assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Hindu Muslim unity was paramount for the Father of the Nation.  It was the cardinal principle on which he based his life and political struggles he said. The Mahatma knew that a new India could only be born if Hindus and Muslims were united and untouchability was abolished, Dr Alam emphasised.

It was a crowded first day which showed that the young students were keen to listen to diverse set of experts and activists who have come to participate in the seminar.

There are going to interesting sessions tomorrow in which many well known social activists, academics and writers wll make their presentation on issues including role and responsibilities of state in protecting minorities, administration of criminal justice system : Entrapping of members of minorities and underprivileged groups.

Day II

Two days seminar 'Towards Equality, Justice and Fraternity in Contemporary India : Creating a better Tomorrow Through Law' being organised by Institute of Objective Studies, at the Aliah University, Kolkata culminated with a call to work unitedly for the cause of the marginalised communities in India including Muslims and other sections of society.

In his veledictory address Institute of Objective Studies Chairman, Dr Manzoor Alam emphasised to work with great caution and not to react on every thing being proposed by divisive forces every day.

He maintained the IOS resolve to continue to engage with legal luminaries, academics, activists, researchers etc dedicated to the cause of the minorities and marginalised.

Speaking on the occasion noted human rights defender Ms Teesta Setalvad asked for a broader unity based on conviction to defend democracy and secularism in India and express solidarity with all the like minded segments who are fighting for the rights of the people. She also spoke of Dalits and Aadivasi struggle and applauded Jignesh Mewani of Gujarat for working towards the unity of all the marginalised communities.

Ms Setalvad also cautioned the community of responding to every small issue and getting emotionally agitated on things including the Uniform Civil Code. She said what is left there as Muslim women have always have option to go to the court in case any issue comes out. 

There  Dr John Dayal spoke of violence against Christians in Kandhamal and continuous oppression of Dalits in various parts of the country.

He emphasised that we can not allow our constitution to be assaulted and will have to prepare to fight long term battle. We need to track down each cases carefully and look into the way the cases have been filed and followed up by the authorities like what he himself was engaged with people of Kandhamal who faced the worst violence against them in independent India's history.

There were presentation by Prof Shakeel Samdani, AMU on the issue of personal laws in India.

Ms Manisha Sethi spoke of continuous persecution of Muslims through the security and intelligence agencies who do not have enough evidence against them. A huge number of such cases are built up not on evidence of violence against person but seizure of so called prohibited literature.

Mr Arun Maji discussed that in these hours of crisis when political democracy is failing, the only logical thing for the protection of minority rights comes from the highest court. They remain the only hope at the moment he said.

Prof Z M Khan read out the resolution of the seminar. The success of the seminar was in the attentive audience which remained there till last.

Activist Writer Mr Vidya Bhushan Rawat said  that South Asia has majoritarian tendencies where minorities are despised and it is time we talk of minority rights in South Asia. One minority in India is a majority in Pakistan, Bangladesh or vice versa. And in all the states in South Asia, condition of minorities is serious and hence we need serious thinking over it. The anti cow slaughter movement in India is turning like Blasphemy law of Pakistan mainly targeting the marginalised and minorities and we must speak against it. While we must defend constitutional values and rights, we must have enough space for introspection to our failures too.

Institute of Objective Studies Chairman Dr Manzoor Alam said that two more seminar in this series would be organised this year with final one in Delhi to commemorate the 30th year celebrations of the founding of Institute of Objective Studies. It was a hugely successful seminar which was attended by four Judges ( formerly) of Supreme Courts and High Courts, Two Vice chancellors, Academics, Senior editors and journalists, activists researchers, Human rights defenders and common people.

Dr Alam sought support from all to work build a better India which respect humanity and human dignity. Let us all work together for it and IOS will continue to work for strengthening human dignity of humanity. He also said that Muslims should not be responding to all the issues being planted by people who never cared for it. Let us see what they want to present. It is rare that such diverse group of people have been brought at one platform by Institute of Objective studies. He said the Institute plan to publish a book based on the presentation of papers as well as other discussions during the seminar.

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