Separate religion from politics to stop militancy
Expressing concern over militancy and terrorism in South Asia including Bangladesh, a noted journalist, writer and cultural activists of India said religion has to be separated from politics to stop militancy and extremism.
“Religion should be confined to individual choice and separated from politics. Only then we would be able to create a society with equality, justice and secular values. This is relevant not only for Bangladesh but also for other South Asian countries,” said Geetesh Sharma.
The 85-year-old was attending the seventh national conference of the Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee. Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, he suggested encouraging open discussions on religions so that people can know the real message.
Geetesh said the struggle to create such a society is long and protracted. “It may not be easy to achieve but we should keep on endeavouring. It is not a utopian idea because around 30 countries have achieved this goal through their welfare system.”
Expressing concern over the rise of conservative forces, he predicted the trend will continue for the next few years as the countries have failed to give any alternative to their people.
Geetesh, a humanist in conviction, said violent extremism and terrorism is on the rise due to lack of humanism, equality, justice and erosion of secular values.
Praising Bangladesh and its people, he said openness and hospitability of the country's people attracted him the most. “People of Bangladesh are religious but not extremists.”
Geetesh also called for unity among Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan and said the countries should unite against terrorism and militancy. “We have a common solution. We have to be united and fight terrorism and militancy, social injustice and discrimination together.”
Geetesh said an open discussion among the believers and non-believers should also take place as it will help people to know the religions better.
“You are setting a limit by saying you cannot say or write more than that. You are not allowing people to speak their mind,” he said. If this prevails, terrorism will continue to rise.