Permit Requirements for Hindu Prayers Unwarranted

Ed. Comment.  To the uninitiated, this looks like a religious body using the State, through PER,  to control religious practice. The police decision, presumably approved by Government, to allow itself to be used in this way (and used is the correct word) makes a total mockery of the Regulations. This is not what they were intended for.  
   
I repeat my appeal. Lift PER, but if this is not possible at present for reasons of State security, state what these reasons are, and apply the Regulations in ways that make sense to normal citizens  -- Croz

Permit Requirements for Hindu Prayers Unwarranted 
               Media Release 16th August, 2011 

The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum is shocked to learn of and strongly opposes the decision of the Shree Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji and the Fiji Police Force that Hindu’s wishing to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna this week need to acquire a permit to do so.


“The decision violates the rights of individuals to Freedom of Religion and Belief and the Fiji Police and the Shree Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha must immediately retract their decision and allow Hindu’s to mark Krishna Janmashtami celebrations without any restrictions” says CCF CEO Reverend Akuila Yabaki.

The CCF is also concerned that the Shree Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji resolved that all Mandalis, temple Committees and organizations that are not registered are not to be given any permission by the government departments to organize any events.

“This decision puts serious restrictions on the rights of Hindu’s around the country who are now subject to unprecedented demands by the Sabha and the Fiji Police to hold prayers.  Basing the decision on the requirements of the Public Emergency Regulation are unjustified as the PER has been in place for more than 28 months now and no such requirement for a permit was enforced during this period in the past.”
The Fiji Police Spokesperson has also made media statements stating that people planning to organize religious programs will have to get a permit from police if the program will have a gathering of more than 10 people.

“It must be noted that Church services held daily and especially on Saturday and Sundays do not require the Church to get a permit. During this holy month of Ramadan for Muslims around the country, they too are not required to obtain a permit for their daily prayers, hence the decision to set up a special set of rules for Hindu’s is also discriminatory against a certain ethnic group and reflects badly on the intentions of the Sanatan Dharam Sabha.”

“Krishna Janmashtami celebrations are an auspicious occasion for Hindu’s world over as is Christmas and Easter for Christians and Ramadan for Muslims and there must be no restrictions placed to stop people from celebrating these religious functions or making unreasonable demands.”

The CCF calls on both the Police and the Sabha to reconsider their decision and while the two institutions may want to monitor the religious gathering; the worshippers must not be subject to acquiring a permit to practice their faith and religion as a fundamental human right under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his or her religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his or her religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

The current government notes in Pillar 2 of the Peoples’ Charter for Change, Peace and Progress the “Encouragement and promotion of religious freedom and understanding and conduct of interfaith dialogue and the sharing of spiritualities.”

For further information please contact the communications team at CCF on communications@ccf.org.fj.
Reverend Akuila Yabaki, Chief Executive OfficerCitizens’ Constitutional Forum Limited, 23 Denison Road, PO Box 12584, Suva, Fiji
Phone: [679] 3308 379   Fax: [679] 3308 380. E-mail:  ccf@kidanet.net.fj Website:  www.ccf.org.fj





Comments

Anonymous said…
Sanatan Dharam wants Hindus to legitimize the primitive and barbaric caste system, suck up to the brahmins, hence they want all mandalis registered under them. The unsuspecting govt has been conned into this. What a joke fellas!!! We now need police/sanatan dharam clearance to worship. I personally dont believe in any religion but God, and my advice to Sanatinees is to join the Arya Samaj or be slaves of the brahmins forever
i-Taukei military said…
Croz
If it is good enough for the Methodists to get a permit why is it not good enough for the hindus? Beware of what you ask for - you might get it.
Anonymous said…
learning are we?
Anonymous said…
i-Taukei military has got a point, If the methodists and now the AOG churches must do it, it would be discrimination against them if they did not extend the rules to Hindu Prayer gatherings..
Croz Walsh said…
i-Taukei ... Not really. Churches and temples do not require permits. The Hindu family mentioned merely wanted to hold a religious celebration at home as they probably had for many, many years, without the need for a permit.
Anonymous said…
Hi i-Taukei, Croz is right. We are NOT talking about a national gathering here. We are talking about a group of families for a once in a year prayer gathering. In fact this sort of gathering for a prayer happens in the chruch every Sunday.

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