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On the issue of Minority Rights, India can be the Teacher of the World

Cultural and religious plurality is an asset to a nation and not a threat

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New Delhi, Oct 5, 2016: On the issue of minority rights in a democracy, India can be the teacher of the world, said an academic on Wednesday.

Professor Peter Ronald DeSouza of Delhi University said this while delivering the 9th Annual Lecture on ‘Minority Rights and Democracy in India’ organised by the National Minorities Commission here.

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“As the world struggles with working out the moral, legal, and social terms of the majority-minority relationship India’s engagement with this question, since the last 70 years, constitutes a valuable global intellectual resource,” DeSouza said.

DeSouza said that three key ideas emerge from this debate on minority rights. The first that cultural and religious plurality is an asset to a nation and not a threat, a bold argument to be made after partition when the sense of the house was overwhelmingly for strong integration.

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The second is that cultural autonomy must be allowed, the protective argument, so that individuals can develop their personalities to the fullest using their cultural resources.

And the third is to give this belief constitutional and not just statutory status.

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 “In the mixed picture about the position of minorities (primarily religious minorities) India stands out as a shining path to follow. I am not saying that things are wonderful in India since much more needs to be done, but that we compare favourably with our neighbours.

“We have the architecture in place from which a robust practice of protecting minority rights can be built. For this, we need the imagination and we need the will. India can indeed be the teacher of the world,” he said. (IANS)

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  • Antara

    Minority rights is indeed an important and popular issue in our country!!

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Treading Towards a More Tolerant Society, Serbia’s Openly Gay PM Joins Belgian Gay-Pride March

Ana Brnabic, Serbia's first openly gay prime minister, has always tried to shift the focus away from her sexual orientation, asking "Why does it matter?"

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gay-pride march
Serbia's first ever openly gay prime minister, Ana Brnabic, center, attends a gay pride march in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Brnabic joined several hundred gay activists at a pride event held amid tight security in the conservative Balkan country. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (VOA)

Serbia, September 18, 2017 : Ana Brnabic, Serbia’s first openly gay prime minister, joined several hundred activists at a gay-pride march in Belgrade on Sunday.

Brnabic, who is also the first woman in top-level job, said she is working “one step at a time” toward building a more tolerant society.

Serbian riot police cordoned off the city center with metal fences early Sunday to prevent possible clashes with extremist groups opposed to the gay-pride march. Similar events have been marred by violent clashes in the conservative country.

“The government is here for all citizens and will secure the respect of rights for all citizens,” Brnabic told reporters. “We want to send a signal that diversity makes our society stronger, that together we can do more.”

Members of Serbia’s embattled LGBT community face widespread harassment and violence from extremists. Violence marred the country’s first gay-pride march in 2001, and more than 100 people were injured during a similar event in 2010 when police clashed with right-wing groups and soccer hooligans. Several pride events were banned before marches resumed in 2014.

GAY-PRIDE MARCH
Gay rights activists dance during a gay pride march in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Holding rainbow flags, balloons and a banner reading ‘For change,’ participants gather in central Belgrade, capital, before setting off for a march through the city center. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (VOA)

Brnabic, who was elected in June, has tried to shift the focus away from her sexual orientation, asking “Why does it matter?”

Serbia is on track to join the European Union, but the EU has asked the country to improve minority rights, including for the LGBT community.

The marchers Sunday said they hoped Brnabic will bring about legislative changes for same-sex couples. (VOA)