Letter: The fragility of India's secularism

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The Independent Online
Sir: The British Muslims deplore the despicable act of destruction of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, India. But mere condemnation is not enough. What is now required on the part of the Hindus, Muslims and others and particularly the politicians at all levels in India is to examine seriously the fragile character of secularism in India.

The people of India, a vast majority of whom are Hindus, should be given an opportunity to decide for themselves whether they want to maintain the facade of secularism as a part of the Indian constitution. At no time has the mass of the people of India had such an opportunity.

If Hindus want India to be a Hindu state, then, given proper safeguards for the minorities, the Hindu nature of the Indian constitution should be accepted. After all, European countries have held referendums on the issue of the EC. Why should the same right not be given to the Hindus, indeed to all Indians?

Yours sincerely,

SHUJA SHAIKH

Chair, British Muslim Council

London, N16

9 December

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