Sunday, 19 August 2018

No Iftar to be hosted by Indian President this year

Iftar parties during the month of Ramzan, have been traditionally hosted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan except during the tenure of A P J Abdul Kalam.

New Delhi, June 7: After nearly a decade, Rashtrapati Bhavan will not host an iftar party this year with President Ram Nath Kovind stating that there should no religious observance at taxpayer’s expense at the public building.

“After the President took office in July 2017, he directed Rashtrapati Bhavan being a public building, there would be no religious observances at taxpayer expense. This is in keeping with the principles of a secular state and applies to all festivities, irrespective of religion,” Ashok Malik, Press Secretary to the President, said in a tweet. He said that the President wishes all fellow citizens on all major religious festivals.

“Officials and employees living in the President’s Estate premises are absolutely free to celebrate any religious festival of their choice in the privacy of their homes. President’s Estate has religious institutions, such as a temple, a gurdwara and a masjid, erected by and for residents. On major festive occasions, the President does visit these to wish people. For example, he recently visited the masjid to mark the holy month of Ramzan,” Tandon added.

Iftar parties, a get together called by Muslims in the evening to break ‘roza’ (fast) during the month of Ramzan, have been traditionally hosted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan except during the tenure of A P J Abdul Kalam, who was the president from 2002-2007.

After Kalam demitted office, Iftar was resumed when Pratibha Patil succeeded him. Pranab Mukherjee, her successor, also continued the tradition till 2017.

In 2017, Diwali celebrations too had not taken place, though, the Rashtrapati Bhavan was lit with multi-coloured bulbs. Christmas carols were also skipped.

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