New Delhi: Amid the widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Department of Justice, which falls under the Law ministry, has set up a booth at the New Delhi World Book Fair to promote the reading of the Preamble.
Through the booth, the department also showcased different aspects of the Constitution, including speeches by some members of the Constituent Assembly such as B.R. Ambedkar, Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Rajendra Prasad.
Those who read the Preamble were handed a certificate.
Those manning the booth also highlighted various initiatives by the Modi government in the legal sector such as Tele-Law, which provides free legal service through video conference or telelphone on issues such as dowry, family violence, sexual harassment of women at the workplace, child marriage, atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
They also explained the Nyaya Bandhu mobile app, an initiative by the Department of Justice, which provides free legal services.
While organisers at the stall were tight-lipped on the objectives of the booth, one of the them, who did not want to be named, told ThePrint that the main aim of the stall was to educate people about their fundamental duties and fundamental rights.
Booth draws a crowd
The Constitution on display caught the eyes of many and the booth was seldom empty.
Priyanshi Bhardwaj, a student of Delhi University, told ThePrint that she was attracted to the stall as people were talking about fundamental rights and duties.
“I think in today’s time the Constitution is extremely important. When you look at the right to equality, you think it should be unquestionable but then you see certain parties and powers questioning them,” she said. “I find it problematic that while I’m studying philosophy most of the republic is not actually there.”
The booth saw various people discussing the Constitution and its provisions. Some of these discussions pertained to the Citizenship Amendment Act and its relation to Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth)
Among those at the booth was Maneesha, an advocate in Delhi, who stressed on the need for legal education in schools while hailing the Modi government’s free legal service initiative. “We need legal education because it is only then will we understand the Preamble and the Constitution and moreover their rights,” she said.
“People are being misinformed about the Constitution and are being fed lies,” said Ahmed Hussain who was also at the booth.
“It is only when they read the Constitution that they will realise what all it comprises. And what Article 14 and Article 15 encompass… Our country is currently going through a very difficult phase.”
The book fair that ends Sunday, has come under the scanner for ‘selling hate, superstition and untruth.’ It has also been reported that aside from books, some stalls are also selling cow urine and cow dung-based incense sticks, soaps, oils, lockets, camphor.