Don’t Agree With Punjab’s Anti-Blasphemy Law, Says P Chidambaram

New Delhi: 

Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday said that being a liberal and a practicing lawyer, he did not agree with the anti-sacrilege bills recently passed by the Punjab Assembly. The former home minister, however, added that his views were “irrelevant” as he was not Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s “boss”.

He said it was not Mr Singh alone, but a number of legislators from almost all the parties in the state, who passed the bills, and hence, the question should be posed to them.

Mr Chidambaram was asked about the bills at a panel discussion, after the launch of his colleague Kapil Sibal’s book, “Shades of Truth”.

“I am not in agreement with the anti-sacrilege law but that is irrelevant. I am not the boss of the Punjab chief minister. The entire legislature of Punjab seems to have passed the bills unanimously and was of the view that there should be life imprisonment for desecration of four religious books — the Gita, the Quran, the Granth Sahib and the Bible.

“Personally, as a liberal and as a practicing lawyer, I do not agree with that view, but then, 117 lawmakers in the Assembly do agree with it,” the Congress leader said.

He, however, acknowledged that his party had not taken a stance on the bills.

“I do not think the party has formulated an opinion on this matter,” Mr Chidambaram said, adding that he had voiced his personal opinion.

Mr Sibal’s book was released by former vice-president Hamid Ansari and former prime minister Manmohan Singh.

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