New Delhi, June 7 (Ajit Weekly News) The controversy generated by the remarks made by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma has not only created a global firestorm, but also reignited the debate within India on people deliberately denigrating other religions and religious practices in the name of free speech.
An overwhelming majority of Indians think that people should avoid making comments that hurt the religious sentiments of any community. This was revealed during a nationwide survey conducted by CVoter on behalf of Ajit Weekly News to gauge the sentiments of ordinary Indians on the issue.
A big majority of more than 84 per cent respondents overall said that people should not make offensive remarks while just about 16 per cent were of the opinion that free speech should be allowed even if it is offensive.
There seemed to almost complete unanimity amongst Indians irrespective of educational, socio economic and ethnic backgrounds. For instance, among opposition supporters, more than 85 per cent agreed with the contention while about 83 per cent of NDA supporters shared the same sentiment. About 89 per cent of upper caste Hindus supported the convention and 85 per cent of respondents belonging to the Muslim community shard the sentiment.
Even urban and rural divides that are sometimes visible disappeared on this issue. While more than 84 per cent of urban respondents felt it is not okay to hurt sentiments of any community, 83 per cent of respondents living in rural India were of the same opinion. There wasn’t much difference even when one factored educational and income disparities among the respondents.
More than 83 per cent of lower education respondents agreed with the contention while more than 87 per cent of respondents with a university degree shared the same sentiment. Similarly while 84 per cent of respondents belonging to the low income group were of the opinion that people should not hurt sentiments of another community, 88 per cent respondents belonging to higher income groups shared the same sentiment. Clearly, in a diverse country like India, citizens feel it is important to respect all faiths and cultures, dictum that many forget in these polarised times.
–Ajit Weekly News