“If Christians and tribals are excluded, then it only leaves Muslims whose personal law will be erased. Why not do that directly rather than go through the charade of a UCC where an exemption is carried out for every other community?” asked Sushant Singh, author and journalist
NEW DELHI — Concerns are being raised over the real intention of the Narendra Modi government amid reports that the Centre was considering keeping Christians and tribals out of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) purview. If that is allowed to happen, it would invariably suggest that the measure is only intended at targeting the Muslim community.
“If Christians and tribals are excluded, then it only leaves Muslims whose personal law will be erased. Why not do that directly rather than go through the charade of a UCC where an exemption is carried out for every other community?” asked Sushant Singh, author and journalist.
Two recent developments have clearly hinted that the Central government would keep the tribals out of the controversial UCC proposal expounded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Wednesday, a delegation of Naga leaders met Union Home Minister Amit Shah to talk about their concerns including the implementation of the UCC. The delegation said that Shah has given them assurance that the Law Commission would exclude them from the UCC.
“We apprised the Home Minister of Article 371 (A), which is applicable to Nagaland and is based on the 16-point agreement signed between the Naga tribes and the Government of India in July 1960. According to this agreement, as well as Article 371 (A), the freedom we exercise in our religious and cultural practices can’t be impinged upon by any Central law passed by Parliament. Only if such a law is also passed by the state Assembly as a resolution, can it become applicable to the state of Nagaland,” an Indian Express report quoted K G Kenye, spokesperson of the Nagaland government and an advisor to the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), as saying.
“The Home Minister assured us that excluding Christians (in Nagaland) and some tribal communities from the scope of a UCC is being considered by the Law Commission,” Kenye said.
There is a lot of discontent in Nagaland since the Law Commission issued the notification on June 14. “If a UCC is extended to Nagaland, it brings into question the validity of Article 371 (A), which is a bridge between mainland India and the Naga people,” he added.
Reacting to the development, Vijay Thottathil, coordinator of the Indian Overseas Congress, also said that the Modi government’s intention is to impose the Uniform Civil Code on Muslims only.
“So Christians will be out, tribes will be out from different parts of the country & mainly left out will be Hindus & Muslims! Let’s wait and see who else gets exceptions in the coming days?? MoShah’s intentions are getting clear day by day, just to impose UCC on Muslims in the country! Let’s wait for the draft,” he tweeted.
Earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sushil Modi, who is also chairman of the parliamentary panel on law and justice, also said that the tribals from the northeast and other part of the country should be kept out of the UCC purview.
According to Times of India, at the panel’s meeting, Modi said the northeast, which was governed as per provisions mentioned in Article 371 of the Constitution, and tribal areas mentioned in the Sixth Schedule, should be exempted from the UCC.
Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram (VKS), a tribal body affiliated to Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), also welcomed the ‘role’ of Sushil Modi to keep the tribes out of UCC.