By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi, August 24, 2019: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says those trying to break the unity of India will only meet failures.
Addressing the centenary celebrations of All India Catholic Union (AICU) on August 24 at St. Columbas School, New Delhi, Kejrival described India as a beautiful country comprising various castes, religions, languages and cultures.
The greatest strength of this vast nation is that people love one another and that is the reason that the country has withstood all the onslaughts of hatred and showed its resilience to stand united in all times,” said Kejriwal, who is also head of the Aam Aadmi Party that rules Delhi state.
The chief minister highlighted some of the achievements of his government and said he was happy to recall his long association with Monsignor Susai Sebastian, a priest of the Archdiocese of Delhi, when both of them used to work for the slums of Delhi to bring about changes in the life of poor in society.
He said the only difference is that earlier he was working on a smaller scale but now he is doing the same work on a large scale as the chief minister of Delhi
Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi, in his inaugural speech, appreciated the contribution of AICU and said that since the organization was well nurtured by its past and present office bearers and members that is the reason of its immense contribution to the Church and the nation building.
AICU national president Lancy D’Cunha and secretary general A. Chinnappan, along with other office bearers and the delegates at the centenary celebrations, offered their condolences at the sad demises of Arun Jaitely and Shushma Swaraj, two former federal ministers.
Jaitley died a few hours before the AICU program and Swaraj on August 6.
Kejriwal was the chief guest at the centenary celebration attended by Archbishops Anil Couto of Delhi, Albert D’Souza of Agra, and Peter Machado of Bangalore, Bishop Gerald Mathias of Lucknow, Monsignor Susai Sebastian, Member of Parliament Vincent Pala, and former Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh.
Ospison Linus Marbaniang of Meghalaya was given the AICU Centenary Media award, Livinus K. Kindo of Odisha the award for Public Affairs, Jeeth Milan Roche of Karnataka for environment, Kasber Augustine of Maharashtra for Social Activities and Rubina Francis of Madhya Pradesh the AICU Centenary Sports Person award at the celebrations.
Earlier on August 23, at the opening of the AICU meet Justice Kurian Joseph, a retired Supreme Court judge, said no government can change ‘secular’ from the Indian Constitution
‘Secular’ is in the basic structure of the Constitution and the Preamble. A 13-judge bench had said secularism is a basic structure, it is difficult to change it, said Justice Joseph, the keynote speaker at the session.
“Secularism amendment came after the Emergency and you will not find it anywhere else in the Constitution but in the Preamble. It cannot be done in the way Article 370 was amended. We need a 15-judge bench to amend Constitution,” said Justice Joseph during a panel discussion on ‘Constitution and Minority Rights in India.”
Prof Achin Vanaik, social activist John Dayal, lawyer PI Jose, Tehmina Arora of Alliance Defending Freedom and Sister Therese Paul also spoke on the rights too.
“India is a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic. All these are the fundamental aspects of the country and once the Supreme court has held it to be the basic structure, it cannot be changed. No majority government can change it from the Constitution. That is why the Supreme Court said there are certain things which Parliament can change, but there are certain things which Parliament cannot change. Fortunately, as of now secularism is one of those aspects which cannot be changed,” elaborated Justice Joseph.
However, citing the Nepali Constitution, Vanaik pointed out that the Nepali constitution says that the country is secular, but it has given a special status to Hindus.
“So, even if it is going to be difficult to remove the word secular, other changes can be anticipated. A lot depends on the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. With what is happening in the Supreme Court now, don’t underestimate the possibility of various kinds of interpretation,” underscored Vanaik, who added that India is a weak secular state and hence a weak democracy.
“In India secularism is taken to mean ‘Sarva Dharm Sambhavam’ – the idea that all paths lead to the same destination and the equality of all religions. The idea of tolerance is the fountainhead of Indian secularism. ‘Secularism’ doesn’t mean the separation between religion from politics. You cannot have a democratic state which is not secular, but you can have a secular state which is not democratic such as Soviet Union and Kemal Ataturk’s Turkey,” said the former Delhi University professor.
“We have to fight to get much more and show the pro-Hindu biases,” said Vanaik, who questioned the need for the name ‘Bharat’ in the Constitution and explained that it referred to the ‘Bharat varsh’ before the Islamic era.