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India: No Religion - No Caste.. One More Option Please..

Petition Update

Sunday 27 May 2018, by siawi3


Mise à jour sur la pétition
The Hindu Daily Covers our Issue on 12th May,2018
Venkata Ramakrishna Rao Duvvuri
Hyderabad, Inde

27 mai 2018 — HYDERABAD
They have left behind religion, but its shadow follows
R. Ravikanth Reddy

HYDERABAD, MAY 12, 2018 23:04 IST
UPDATED: MAY 12, 2018 23:04 IST

Parents who are atheists demand government to create ‘non-religious’ option in application forms
Facing criticism from society for being atheists apart, the children of such parents have a tough time filling up applications in schools or the examination forms as they are forced to declare their affiliation to any of the religion mentioned in the column.

Though there is an option called ‘others’, parents who have denounced caste and religion say it’s like accepting any other religion apart from the six mentioned in the forms. “Why should we be forced to mention a religion when we have chosen to remain without any?” asks D.V. Ramakrishna Rao, who found himself in a fix during his daughters’ admission in a school.

Separate option

Such parents want the government to create a separate option called ‘non-religious’ and ‘no caste’. They argue that by doing so, the government would not hurt their sentiments.

Stating that thousands of parents who are not religious are simply forced to choose the option ‘others’ in application forms, Mr. Rao said he has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the High Court, but the government is yet to file its counter after the court sought its reply.

“When the third gender is being recognised officially and the mention of the names of mothers in the parents’ column is being accepted deviating from the earlier practices, why can’t the non-religious category be created,” argues D. Suresh Kumar, the lawyer who also filed the PIL.

Parents like Mr. Rao say that the ‘discrimination’ does not end at the admissions as students are forced to mention their religion in transfer certificates too.

Online petition

In fact to highlight this issue, Mr. Rao said an online petition on explaining why such a separate identity was must has been started. He said as per the 2011 census, the number of ‘Religion Not Stated’ people was 28.7 lakh.

He recalled an interim order given by the High Court in April 2010 in response to his writ petition that says “Right to have religion means equally not to have any religion also”.

At the same time, Mr. Rao said people like him were alive to caste inequalities and the need for reservation policy and added that they were not against those interested in availing themselves of quota mentioning either their caste or religion.