An American scholar of Islam “Dr. Amina Wadud” was recently scheduled to deliver a lecture on “Islam, Gender and Reform” at the Madras University in Chennai. Since a conservative Islamic group in Chennai (which has a Muslim population of 9%) saw their cause jeopardized, they threatened to protest outside the lecture hall which led to the police authorities sending a text message to the Vice Chancellor of the University to prevent the lecture from being held on the grounds of “law and order“.
I believe that India is a secular state and as such every citizen has the right to practice the religion of his choice and it is his personal and righteous choice to be a conservative believer or a progressive believer of that religion.
One fraction of the Indian Muslim community cannot deprive fellow citizens of the right to hear the lecture of Dr. Wadud because she represents a progressive approach to religion. The fact that the police authorities of Chennai have intervened under the argument of “law and order” means that they uphold “law and order ” as superior to the rights authorized by the Indian constitution.
This is not a tenable development and was not foreseen as such by the forefathers of this nation. It is the responsibility of law authorities in any democracy to uphold the rights guaranteed to all citizens of the country by the constitution AND to maintain law and order. It cannot be a choice of either law and order or individual rights.
It is time that the executive in India wakes up to its real responsibilities and the Indian executive authorities remand the concerned persons.