Hindus seek public holiday for Diwali in New Zealand

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Nevada (US), Mar 27 (ANI): Hindus have asked for Diwali as a public holiday in New Zealand.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Diwali being the most important Hindu holy day, it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children.urrently only Easter and Christmas are observed as public holidays in New Zealand and there are no public holidays covering festivals of other religious groups.

Human Rights Commission (HRC) of New Zealand, in a draft titled "Freedom of religion and belief" published recently, says: Schools face a number of issues in respecting the religious diversity of pupils. These range from wearing religious attire or other symbols (for example, Muslim headscarves, Sikh turbans, Jewish yarmulke, Christian cross, taonga Mdori) to the content of the curriculum and classes".

It further points out: "There continue to be instances of hate crimes, such as the vandalism of mosques and temples, desecration of Jewish graves and verbal abuse or threatening behaviour towards people wearing religious attire, such as a hijab or turban".

Although New Zealand is a secular State with no State religion, yet prayers of the majority religion often formed a part of public ceremonials.

Parliament still opened with a prayer with a wording that is Christian in nature. Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested that guest chaplains from various religions and denominations should be invited to read the opening prayer, thus each day starting with a new prayer. This practice would substantiate the freedom of worship enjoyed across the nation, he added. (ANI)

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