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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Constitution’s Socialist And Secular Character

The Preamble to our Constitution says that ‘we are a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic.’ But a section of people argue that since the words – Socialist and Secular – were not there in the original Constitution, therefore, they can be ignored. This is a dangerous propaganda based on half-truth. It is true that these words were not in the Preamble when the Constitution came into effect on January 26, 1950. It was incorporated by the 42nd Amendment Act in 1976. But the Socialist Secular character was embedded in our Constitution, and even in its Preamble since its birth.  Secularism has been embodied in Article 15, Article 25 to Article 30 and Article 51A(e) of our Constitution. While Article 25 has given every citizen equal entitlement to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion; Article 25 (2) has put religion under the control of the State and not vice versa as for example Article 25 (2) (b) has given the State the power to throw open Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus.   On the other hand, the socialist character has found its room in Article 14, Article 16 to 18 and Article 38 to 47 of the Constitution from the very beginning. The Constitution directs the State to secure that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good (Article 39(b)), and the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment (Article 39(c)).   As a matter of fact, our Constitution is Socialist and Secular in every inch from its Fundamental Rights to Fundamental Duties to Directive Principles of State Policy. Even the Preamble itself was Secular and Socialist in character at the time of its birth. On January 26, 1950, the very Preamble resolved to secure to all its citizens Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship and Equality of status and of opportunity.

Sujit De, Kolkatta

Provide Fire-Safety Tips To Students

Tips on road-safety are imparted to school students on a regular basis which is a good exercise, given the number of road accidents that one witnesses in the state. But then probably not much emphasis is given by way of giving instructions and training in following fire-safety measures. It seems necessary to provide vital fire-safety tips to the students at both the school and higher secondary level so that they do not panic in case of a fire incident in the campus. Students also have to handle hazardous chemicals in the laboratory and hence following safety measures is of vital importance. Students as well as teachers need to be provided basic knowledge in operating fire-extinguishers, how to handle minor emergencies, LPG leakage at home, etc. A small fire when doused in time can prevent a major tragedy, which could lead to loss of life and property. Children should also be given training to evacuate from the school in an orderly manner whenever there is a fire-alarm and not to panic. Mock drills could be conducted in schools and colleges in order to train the students on how to reach the nearest exit point in case of a fire. The staff of the firefighting department could impart such training to school and college students in their respective jurisdiction. 

ADELMO FERNANDES, Vasco

Church-Backed Anti-CAA, NPR Protest In Goa

Despite having had a number of demonstrations against CAA, NPR and NRC staged across the state by various organisations, the Church-backed anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest meet held in Margao on Friday takes the cake for being the one that drew a mammoth crowd to the venue. With the people from all walks of life congregating at the historic Lohia Maidan to unitedly voice their displeasure against the citizenship law and  demanding that the Goa Assembly pass a resolution asking the central government to immediately and unconditionally revoke the CAA and activities related to National Population Register and National Register of Citizens; the protest meet definitely had the desired effect with a strong message being sent across to Delhi that Goans have learnt to stand up for their rights. For that matter, Church-backed agitations in Goa have always had an inherent effect with the people from various communities readily coming forward to endorse the views of the Church. As an organisation that has quite often moved over from matters religious to dwell on issues that affect the common man, the Church in Goa has brought about remarkable changes in the society. Stirring a state into action over the highhandedness of a government that is adamant on pushing through with its agendas, the Church is perfectly right in mobilising public support over what is perceived to be a ‘murder of democracy’ by the present regime. The very fact that Salcete’s non-BJP MLAs were not invited on the dais to speak made it evident that the organisers were serious in ensuring that the whole show would not be tinged in a political hue. It was a show of strength by the ‘aam nagrik’ and the political leaders had no place in the order of things. The absence of Congress-turned BJP MLAs from Salcete at the protest meet was, however, indicative of the apprehensions of ‘saffronisation’ getting the better of their convictions. Over a period of seventy years, our politicians have systematically eroded the constitutional values so dear to every Indian. It hence becomes essential that our constitutional guarantees are defended against assaults by any party or government.

PACHU MENON, MARGAO

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