The realm of ideas must always be free and fair

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News: US Congress recently approved a bill to ban imports from Xinjiang that might be the result of forced labor.

Must read: U.S. imposes sanctions against China over abuse of Uighurs
Why was the reason behind the USA move?

The new world order after World War 2 was based on liberal ideas like freedom of thought, which also included freedom of religion. According to the US, China’s treatment of Uyghurs is a violation of that order.

Why religious conversions should be checked?

The religious conversion itself is controversial. “Vocational education and training centres” for Uyghurs in China seems to imprison and indoctrinate Uyghurs with Communist Party ideology—in effect, convert them.

Thus, any form of state incentive which favours a particular religion should be seen thoroughly investigated.

Also read: People are Free to Choose Religion: Supreme Court
How religion is used in politics in India?

Polls in UP have raised us-versus-them debate. The agitation has lost traction. The appeals to Hindu revivalism are neither uniform and at times may induce harm to people or minorities. For many weeks in Gurugram people have been denied Muslims space to offer prayers in public. This does not reflect the nation’s stand, but it does impact the sentiments of people.

What should be done to ensure religious freedom?

In India, Judiciary should evaluate the faith-based exclusion of citizenship enacted through the citizenship amendment act 2019.

Last February, the Supreme Court said it would lay down the ambit of religious freedom under the Constitution’s Article 25.  This is a welcome move.

Article 25: says “all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health.

Source: This post is based on the article “The realm of ideas must always be free and fair” published in the Livemint on 20th December 2021.

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