ROME – “His Holiness the Pope is absolutely correct in stating that religious freedom is the path to peace”. Wherever this right is not respected, you have the bases of Fascism, said executive director of the Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights Mr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, as he spoke about the need to respect religious freedom as the stepping stone to build just and peaceful coexistence.
He was commenting on Pope Benedict’s message for the World day of Peace celebrated on the first of January by the Catholic Church.
Dr Raghuvanshi won the 2010 Weimar Human Rights Award and the 2007 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.
If a society wants sustainable peace, there should be religious freedom and freedom of conscience and the absence of religious freedom leads to intolerance, hostilities and tensions, he said. Religious freedom presupposes freedom from the state in the sphere of religion and freedom from state control over conscience. All democracies in the world must ensure and guarantee freedom of religion. The progress and development of a democracy will be the result of a peaceful and tolerant society. When everyone, including linguistic and ethnic minorities, has the freedom to practice their religion, rituals and religious expressions, society will be more harmonious and cohesive. This creates an enabling environment for the progress and prosperity of a nation.
Any society that does not guarantee religious freedom breeds and engenders communal Fascism. Political communalism is a preliminary to political Fascism.
Communal Fascism is the abuse of religious fundamentalist philosophy for political advantages and the usurpation of political power in order to establish supremacy in society. He stressed that it is most urgent that world leaders take seriously the message of His Holiness the Pope that religious freedom is the path to peace, if they want to foster sustainable peace in the world.
Forty year old Varanasi born Dr. Raghuvanshi is the symbol of resistance to millions of Dalits fighting for dignity in India. Lenin is credited with changing the discourse on Dalit Politics in India and bringing into focus an innovative “people centric” approach to reclaim “human dignity” in a caste ridden Indian society. The gamut of Lenin’s activities reflects his personal and ideological span and provides credibility and a sense of completeness to the work he does. His care for details, meticulous planning, diligent patience, and sincere advocacy of the issue of the marginalized, has made millions of his supporters optimistic about a dignified future.