Line separating religion and state becoming thinner: Kerala CM on Ram temple consecration ceremony

"We have come to a point in time when the inauguration of a religious place of worship in the country is being celebrated as a state event," he said.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jan 22, 2024 | 4:27 PMUpdatedJan 22, 2024 | 4:27 PM

Pinarayi Vijayan addresses the public via video on social media. (Screengrab)

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, on Monday, 22 January, that some leaders, including him, declined the invitation to attend the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya to uphold the spirit of democracy.

He said the inauguration of a religious place of worship in the country is being celebrated as a state event.

Vijayan’s CPI(M) decided against participating in the temple consecration, while some Opposition parties, like the Congress declined invitations on the grounds that it was a RSS-BJP political event being held for electoral gain.

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Vijayan’s message

In a video posted on the CPI(M)’s official X handle, Vijayan said, “Secularism is the soul of the democratic Republic of India. It has been part of our identity as a nation right from the time of our national movement. Those who belong to some religions and those who were not part of any religion had taken an active part in our freedom struggle. This nation belongs to all people and all sections of Indian society in equal measure.”

He added that religion is a private affair and that the Indian Constitution has minced no words in stating that all persons are equally entitled to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion.

“As those who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of India, we ought to ensure that every person within our territories enjoys this right in equal measures. At the same time, we cannot promote one religion over all others or demean one religion beneath every other,” Vijayan said.

Recalling that India’s first prime minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, often opined that Indian secularism means separation of religion and state, he said, “We even have a strong tradition of maintaining that separation. However, of late, the line that demarcates religion and state seems to be getting thinner and thinner.”

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He charged that this is a major departure from the time and that constitutional office-bearers have been cautioned against taking part in religious events.

“Now, we have come to a point in time when the inauguration of a religious place of worship in the country is being celebrated as a state event,” he said.

He added, “Most of us have been invited to participate in the rituals. As those who have pledged to preserve and protect our Constitution, let us reaffirm our commitment to secularism by declining to participate in the event, upholding our constitutional responsibilities. Let this be an opportunity to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic, regional or sectional diversity.”

“May India prosper further by developing scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of enquiry and reform,” he concluded.