Kochi: Observing that religion divides, Social activist Swami Agnivesh on Sunday said the Union Government must ensure that there should not be any claims for religion or caste in school or academic registers.
“A child should have no religion upto the age of 18. The government must ensure that there should not be any claims for religion or caste in school register or academic register,” Agnivesh said addressing a plenary session on `Role of Religion in promoting human rights` as part of the ongoing 33rd World Congress here.
“One should have the freedom to choose any religion after the age of 18 years,” he said.
His advice to students was `Read all scriptures and know all religions`. There is need to fight against injustice and social evils like gender inequality, female foeticide and bride burning, he said.
While the UN declaration of human rights states that all human beings are born free and equal, but today no religion subscribes to this. They all think and believe that their religion will be served and others will be condemned, he said.
The need of the hour is to go beyond these religions as they have `outlived` their utilities, he said. Religion is totally identified with a set of rituals, dogmas, superstitions, miracle mongering and a set of beliefs which are `unscientific` and opposed to rationality. In this age we cannot afford to afford to have `all this baggage of religious
beliefs which will pollute our minds`, he said.
In this age of globalisation, there is need to have universal spiritual values and which calls for equality of human rights and human dignity. Dalits and Women are not children of lesser god, he said.
The religious leaders should come together to fight female foeticide. The girl child are not allowed to be born. There can be nothing more disturbing, he said. Their very right to be born is being denied and India has 50 million missing girls, he said.
Religion divides us, we need a world without religious and borders, he said.
Sessions on Women as agents for social change and cohesion was also held at the congress in which about 600 delegates from India and abroad are attending.