The right to criticise religion

Does section 295A of the Indian Penal Code prohibit us from criticising religion? In an outrageous act, police arrested the editor and publisher of The Statesman for re-publishing an article by Johann Hari entitled ‘Why should I respect these oppressive religions?‘ The article ostensibly hurt the sentiments of Muslims. The arrests only prove Hari’s point that ‘whenever a religious belief is criticised, its adherents say they’re victims of prejudice.’

Section 295A requires ‘deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings’. How can we claim to adhere to a secular ethic without permitting genuine criticism of religion?

Written by
Tarunabh Khaitan
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  • I wonder how come IPC attracts strict and absurd interpretation when fundamentalism and fanaticism are critiqued. Why did our police failed to charge Raj Thakeray with abetment to commit murder…when it is sufficiently proved that he incited the hooligans who ended up in death of innocents.
    Further, why Thakeray and Muthallics get instant bailouts when they can create much disturbance whilst Binayak Sen is crucified for more than one year in Jail without Bail!
    Doesn’t the Marxist notion of Law as a ‘tool of oppression’ of the ruling elites stands vindicated?

    It’s a shame that for freely expressing oneself one is put behind the bars in a “secular” and “democratic” nation.