Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: After Muslim community, the SCs and STs as well as Lingayats, Buddhist, Other Backward Communities’ organizations have come out in open to oppose the government initiative on Uniform Civil Code saying it is against the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution and that will obliterate their distinct identity from Hinduism.
Addressing a joint press conference here on Thursday, Dalit, tribal and Buddhist leaders have condemned the move in one voice. They described the move as ‘electoral gimmick’ of the Modi government in view of the forthcoming crucial assembly elections in UP. They also underlined that UCC is not only a Muslim issue but of hundreds of the religious entities across the country who do not believe in Hinduism in its Brahmanical face.
Condemning the move, Prem Kumar Gedam National Coordinator, Rashtriya Adivasi Ekta Parishad, said tribal communities have their own distinct cultural identity and customs and they are governed by their customary as UCC is a real threat to their identity.
In reply to a question that tribals are enumerated as Hindus in Census report, Gedam asserted that tribals are not Hindus.
“We have nothing do with Hinduism; it is the wrongdoings of enumerators who took advantage of ignorance of the tribal people. He cited Article 342 and 244 of the Constitution to prove his point”.
He also mentioned the Madhya Pradesh High Court verdict of 2001 in which the court declared that tribals are not Hindus.
He also warned that any move to impose UCC on the country will have serious repercussions on the unity and integrity of the country adding that there are 6,743 communities in India with different identities.
Echoing his views, Prof. Baba Haste of Buddhist International Centre said imposition of UCC will threaten the very fabric of the country. Buddhist monk Prof. Bhante Samyak Rakshit said UCC will kill all the religious identities in the country.
UCC is not only concerned to Muslims but also to other religious groups, it is a conspiracy to bring back the cruel ‘varnashrama’ (caste system) in the guise of UCC, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Nomadic Tribe Communities representative Anil Kumar Mane said if the Modi government tries to impose UCC, we will resist the move with tooth and nail. It smacks of politics as UP elections are round the corner, he added.
Other Backward Communities’ representative Kumar Kale urged the government to desist from interfering in fundamental rights of people “‘Government has no right to tinker with fundamental rights. This is a government doing nothing for the welfare of people of the country but indulging in politics to win elections,” Kale said.
Ittehad e Millat Conference president Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan also urged the government to review its stand on UCC and triple issue. He cautioned that such steps will create chaotic situation in the country, so good sense will prevail on the present government.
While conducting the proceedings, All India Muslim Personal Law Board executive member Kamal Farooqui said UCC is not an issue for Muslims only as being projected by a section of media but of all other religious groups who want to protect and promote their distinct religious identity in accordance with the Constitution.
They also released a joint statement on the occasion which said:
“The recent initiatives of the NDA Government regarding Uniform Civil Code which is in tune with their election manifesto 2014 has raised serious questions about the fundamental rights not only to the hundreds of the religious entities across the country but also specific constitutional guarantees to the Scheduled Tribes and others who do not believe in Hinduism in its Brahmanical face. In a recent judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of a Hindu couple which had nothing to do with the Muslims or other minorities, a serious diversion of a very important nature of Uniform Civil Code was brought in part-II of the Order in case of Parkash & others versus Phoolwati & others and the unique situation of a Suo Motu Writ petition was initiated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court enlarging the scope of “Triple Talaq” to the extent of bringing the Uniform Civil Code in the country. Simultaneously the Law Commission was also activated by the Government which has brought in a questionnaire on the subject. The Questionnaire is not only ill designed but smack of the intentions to bring a Uniform Civil code from the back door.
We, the various groups of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Lingayats, Buddhist and other backward communities very strongly condemn the move of the Government & respectfully disagree with the Suo Motu initiative by the Hon’ble Supreme court, interfering in the fundamental rights enshrined to the minorities, religious groups, Scheduled Tribes & Scheduled Castes. We want to bring to the notice of the nation that this initiative is not only a clash between the Directive principles & the fundamental rights but it is a case of fundamental rights versus the fundamental rights. We also want to make it clear that several communities which are presumed to be following the Hindu religion are specifically excluded from various provisions of the Hindu laws. Some of the groups which have been wrongly declared as Hindus do not conform to the values of the Brahmanical Hinduism. We are also of the opinion that this initiative of the present Government will harm the integrity of the country and will damage the basic fabrics of the unity of the nation to a great extent. Since we are also a party to the Suo Motu writ petition (Civil) no. 2 of 2015, we will take all possible legal recourse to uphold the guarantees provided to us by the Constitution of India. We will also take up this issue outside the court to the masses in a democratic manner. We feel that as far as the constitution is concerned, basic importance is of the fundamental rights & the constitutional rights given to the religious minorities and to the specific groups. Any trickling with them could be of serious consequences for the unity and integrity of the country.
We hope that a good sense will prevail and the Government will not only withdraw its affidavit which has been filed in the Hon’ble Supreme Court but would rise to the occasion of not disturbing the peace and tranquility of the country”.