Several religious leaders and community heads who came together for an interfaith conclave on Saturday signed a declaration to “condemn violence, tyranny and subjugation that oppose the constitutional framework that governs the nation”.
“We acknowledge and accept our rights and obligations as empowered citizens to uphold the guarantee of life, liberty, equality, fraternity, dignity, justice and freedom. We condemn violence, tyranny and subjugation that oppose the constitutional framework that governs the nation guided by the rights enshrined in the Indian constitution… We appeal to all faiths, religious, social and political affiliations and their representatives to refrain from coercion and using violence as a means to assert power and domination,” reads the declaration that was signed at the end of the conclave.
The organisers — United Interfaith Foundation – India, a body of religious leaders and community heads and International Justice Mission, an NGO — said the declaration would be sent to all political parties, chief ministers, governors, police chiefs and community leaders.
“We solemnly declare that peace and harmony in our society is only possible through the promotion of social justice at every level,” the declaration reads. “Though we are different in many ways, we are all united in the unique bond of humanity… It inspires us to recognise that we are all children of god and brothers and sisters of one another. We wish to assert very strongly that we are all united irrespective of the privilege of our birth, our religious affiliation, our social status, and our current position in society.”
The conclave had representatives from different religions and community heads like Archbishop Thomas D’Souza, Satnam Singh Ahluwalia, the general secretary of Gurdwara Behala, Moulana Shafique Qasmi, the imam of Nakhoda Masjid, Arunjyoti Bhikku, the director of Tollygunge Sambodhi Buddhist Monastery, among others.
“In a statement issued at the end, all the participants pledged their commitment to social justice and peace at all levels. They called on people of all faiths to actively promote peace by working for social justice, saying ‘No’ to violence, hatred and injustice and ‘Yes’ to truth, harmony and peace,” said archbishop Thomas D’Souza, who is also the president of United Interfaith Foundation – India.
The interfaith conclave — Sarvadharm Shanti Nyay Sankalp — aimed to promote social justice and harmony, said Ahluwalia, the general secretary of the foundation and the convenor of the conclave.
“This conclave was about recognising the need to promote interfaith dialogue, which would help us to stand by each other, and if we interfaith leaders stand by each other, we shall always stand for peace and harmony,” he said.
“The declaration should be recognised as the collective voice of religious leaders and community heads,” Ahluwalia told Metro.
A pledge has also been translated into Hindi and Bengali and will be distributed among people through the community leaders.
“It is a reminder to the common people that peace is not just to be propagated by religious or community leaders but to be followed by each one of us in our every day life,” Ahluwalia said.