On 22nd September, a remarkable event was held in Delhi that marks a tectonic shift in the discourse around how Hindus mobilise themselves and assert their political will. A group of about 100 prominent activists and intellectuals, which included spiritual gurus, journalists, industrialists, writers etc got together to brainstorm and decide on a “Charter of Hindu Demands”. A list of demands that the Hindu community has. This list if to ultimately be presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the hopes of the PM taking note.
As per the press release, during the deliberations, it was decided that “as the inheritor, custodian and trustee of the Indic civilization based on the ethos of Sanatana Dharma the Indian State has bounden civilizational responsibility to protect, preserve and promote the Indic civilization”.
The first demand of the Charter was “End of legal and institutionalised discrimination against Hindus by the Indian State, which is against the spirit of the equality of citizens irrespective of religious identity. To this effect, the group demands that Dr Satyapal Singh’s Private Member’s Bill No. 226 of 2016 pending in Lok Sabha for amending Articles 26 to 30 of the Constitution should be passed forthwith in the forthcoming Parliament Session, to ensure equal rights to Hindus on par with others”.
These equal rights were demanded in matters of running educational institutions, removal of government control of Hindu temples and restoring their management to the Hindu society and promoting and preserving Hindu heritage and culture.
The group further urged the Central Government to completely ban all sorts of foreign contributions except those by OCIs in their personal capacity (in recognition of their emotional connect with India) by repealing the existing FCRA and enacting a new Foreign Contributions (Prohibition) Act immediately.
Another demand which was included in the charter was the enactment of the Freedom of Religion Act by the Central Government so the traditional practices of Hinduism, its culture and symbols can be protected from unwarranted interference.
To avoid the genocide of Hindus like that of Kashmiri Pandits, the charter demands the central government the tripartite division of J&K into 3 States of Kashmir, Ladakh and Jammu. The charter also demands the abrogation of article 370 along with the repeal of the Constitution (Application to J&K) Order, 1954.
The 100 prominent Hindus who got together also demanded, “The immediate complete ban on export of all types of meat/beef to lower its prices by increasing its availability in the domestic market while reducing the adverse impact on the environment and eliminating social friction and law & order issues”.
The charter, while reminding the Indian State of its civilisational responsibility, urged the Central Govt to immediately establish a Central Public Sector Undertaking to be styled as Haindava Samskruti Jeernoddhaarana Nigam (Hindu Culture Restoration Corporation) with an initial seed capital of not less than Rs. 10,000 crores and an annual grant of a similar amount for undertaking reconstruction and restoration of all damaged, desecrated, abandoned and dilapidated Hindu temples and sacred places; revival, nurturing, patronising and promotion of Veda Pathasalas, various traditional and folk art forms, dance, music, sculpture, architecture, painting etc.
The group urged expediency in granting citizenship to people of Indic faiths who have been persecuted in other countries and flee to India. They demanded
- Withdrawal of the pending Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016;
- (b) Amendment of the Constitution by inserting an enabling Article 11-A in the Constitution;
- (c) Thereafter amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 by introducing a new Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in the forthcoming session of the current Parliament itself.
Finally, the Charter of Hindu Demands urged the central government to create an equal opportunity environment for all Indic languages, thereby ending the institutionalised discrimination that exists today.