Javed Akhtar, Naseeruddin Shah oppose demand for law against blasphemy

Mumbai: Days after All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) raised the demand for a new law against blasphemy, around 400 secular citizens including actors Javed Akhtar and Naseeruddin Shah have expressed their views against it.

According to a report published in New Indian Express, they said that there is no place for such laws in a secular state.

The Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) has strongly opposed the demand made by the AIMPLB. The IMSD statement was signed by around 400 citizens.

Apart from Javed Akhtar and Naseeruddin Shah, the statement was signed by Shabana Azmi, documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan and film writer Anjum Rajabali.

AIMPLB seeks law against blasphemy

Earlier, the demand for such a law was made by AIMPLB. Maulana Saifullah Rahmani, General Secretary of the AIMPLB, had said that the board, at a meeting in Kanpur, suggested that the law should cover all religions in the country to protect revered figures, religions, and religious beliefs from malicious attempts.

The board had also said that the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) was neither suitable nor useful for a vast multi-religious country like India, adding that it was antithetical to the fundamental right to practice religion as enshrined in the Constitution.

“India is a multi-faith country, and every citizen is guaranteed to practice and profess his faith and religious beliefs and to act on and preach the same,” the AIMPLB said in a statement.

The board had also asked the government and judiciary to refrain from interpreting holy scriptures, saying only religious authorities were eligible to do that.

With inputs from agencies