Speech on the Offences Relating to Religion in India

It is our misfortune that religious conversion, religious untolerence, communal riots, etc., are frequently occurring in India every day in any of the corner of its terrority. Babri Masjid destruction stands as an example for this type of unlawful activities.

On the night 22nd, January, 1999, Graham Stewart Stains, a Christian Propagandist was burnt in fire along with his two sons, Phillips and Timothy. This type of incidents is threatening the very existence of secularism.

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There were certain incidents of propaganda of Christianity in Tirupathi Balaji Temple, which were published in news papers / electronic media.

The disparities between the religions are not new to India. After taking India into their grip, the Britishers played the role and principle “divide and rule” and they had shown the poisonous seeds in the minds of Hindus and Muslims. Thus they controlled this large country and kept it in their grip for three hundred years.

While they were leaving, they caused the partition of India into two countries – India and Pakistan.

Pakistan adopted Islam as State religion. India adopted Secularism i.e. to give equal respect to all the religions. Article 19 states that the State should not interfere in the religious beliefs and worship of the people.

The framers of the Indian Penal Code adopted certain principles to give the protection to every religion Sees. 295 to 298 explain the provisions about the offences relating to religion.

Sec. 295. Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class:

Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defilement as an insult to their religion, shall be punished, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.

Sec. 295-A. Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class, by insulting its religion or religious beliefs:

Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with the imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Sec. 296. Disturbing religious assembly:

Whoever voluntarily causes disturbance to any assembly lawfully engaged in the performance of religious worship, or religious ceremonies, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

Sec. 297. Trespassing on burial places, etc:

Whoever, with the intention of wounding the feelings of any person or of insulting the religion of any person or with the knowledge that the feelings of any person are likely to be wounded, or that the religion of any person is likely to be insulted thereby, commits any trespass in any: place of worship or on any place of sculpture, or any place set apart for the performance of funeral rites or as depository for the remains of the dead, or offers any indignity to any human corpse, or causes disturbance to any persons assembled for the performance of funeral ceremonies, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

Sec. 298. Uttering words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings of any person:

Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places, any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

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