Is India for Hindus Only? Bombay HC Asks Nagpur Civic Body

Bombay HC raps Nagpur Municipal Corporation for clubbing an AIDS awareness programme with a Hanuman Chalisa recital.

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File photo of Bombay High Court. (Photo: iStockphoto)

Expressing anguish over the move to recite “Hanuman Chalisa” at an AIDS awareness programme, the Bombay High Court has asked the BJP-ruled Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) if, according to it, “India is for Hindus only”.

The Nagpur bench of the court, while hearing a PIL on Wednesday, expressed strong reservations over the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ recital.

The event was planned for Friday at Kasturchand Park ground in Nagpur.

Why only the reciting of Hanuman Chalisa and why not from the Quran, the Bible or other religious literature? What is the nexus of AIDS awareness and Hanuman Chalisa recital? Is it only Hindus who contract AIDS? Is chanting of Hanuman Chalisa the only remedy for this deadly disease?
Division bench of Justices Bhushan Gavai and Swapna Joshi

The judges disposed off the PIL filed by former corporator Janardan Moon, after both the NMC and programme convener Dayashankar Tiwari agreed to delink the two events – AIDS awareness and Hanuman Chalisa event – and pay the cost of stage and ground (used for the event) on pro-rata basis.

The judges asked the respondents (NMC and the temple trust) to keep at least an hour’s gap between both the events, which over 1.5 lakh people are expected to attend.

The court further directed to ensure that separate banners are put up backstage during both the programmes, with the names of individual organisers.

The NMC was also asked to give wide publicity to its AIDS awareness programme, without mentioning the Hanuman Chalisa event.

We dispose-off the PIL after accepting statements of the NMC and Tiwari, that they would totally disassociate with Hanuman Chalisa recital and only hold AIDS programme
Division Bench

The judges said that they were not against any religious programme, but only concerned with government agencies associating with it.

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