Demand to remove Bible from Civil Hospital

SHILLONG: Following the demand of the Jaintia Students’ Union to remove Ganesha Idol from National Institute of Technology (NIT), Meghalaya which was subsequently removed by the institute authorities, now an organisation known as Legal Rights Observatory has petitioned the Chief Secretary asking him to remove Bible from Shillong Civil Hospital to maintain secular nature of medical facilities as per “newly established NIT idol precedent’
The complaint was lodged by the Legal Rights Observatory with the Chief Secretary , Health Secretary and Deputy Commissioner.
The Legal Rights Observatory said that in continuation of the ‘NIT Idol Precedent’, it wants the state government to immediately remove all Bible copies placed near patients’ beds from Shillong Civil Hospital.
The complaint said that placing such copy of Bible and urging or forcing followers of Niam Tynrai/ Niamtre religion i.e. non- Christian patient in physical and mental stress to read the Bible for medical cure is gross violation of his/her personal liberty.
“Also it is against the spirit of Article 18 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights by United Nations,” the complaint said.
Stating that the Indian Constitution’s Article 25, 26, 27 & 28 too grants Freedom of Religion to all, the complaint said that such forcibly placed Bible copies all over Shillong Civil Hospital are insulting and violating Article 18 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights ( UDHR) and Indian Constitutional provisions at a time.
They want the chief secretary to immediately order all district medical officers, health directors to inspect and sanitise all Meghalaya government run hospitals by removing all Bible copies and religious materials.
It also asked the chief secretary to impose carpet ban on all visits of evangelists to government hospitals urging followers of Niam Tynrai patients to read Bible and worship Jesus for medical cure.
The group also said that the government should start a helpline to report presence of any such religious books, materials, forced visits of evangelists in Meghalaya government run hospitals and medical facilities.
“If no visible action is taken on this letter, then we would approach Union Health Ministry to intervene in the matter and for legal action against erring officers,” the complaint said.
When contacted, officials informed that a report has been sought from the DHS (MI) about the matter.

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