“UCC is one more step in the direction of turning India into a Hindu majoritarian state where minorities are relegated to second class citizenship,” said Rasheed Ahmed, executive director of IAMC
WASHINGTON – Coming down heavily on the BJP government of Uttarakhand for its decision to implement Uniform Civil Code (UCC), Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, called the move an alarming deviation from the current system with different laws for different faiths.
The UCC mandates the formulation of a common law to be imposed on all communities in civil matters related to marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, regardless of their religious practice. This is in contrast to the present law which guarantees adherence to the Hindu Marriage Act, Indian Christian Marriages Act, and the Parsi Marriage, Divorce Act, and Muslim Personal Law based on religious texts and are not codified.
Unilateral implementation of UCC, without the consent of all the stakeholders, amounts to violation of freedom of religion, one of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution. It will be an invasion in the private lives of citizens, particularly Muslims and Christians, who are already severely marginalised in the country.
Far from being progressive, the UCC is another avenue for Hindu supremacists to attack and prosecute Muslims and Christians for practicing their faith in their private lives.
Under the BJP’s Hindu supremacist agenda, the UCC will neither liberate nor unite, but push a Hindu-centric idea of uniformity. This has already been seen in the aftermath of the Karnataka High Court’s ban on religious dress in schools, which unfairly discriminates against Muslims under the guise of secularism while Hindu festivals and religious texts are incorporated in the curriculum.
Reacting to the Uttarakhand government’s move, Rasheed Ahmed, executive director of IAMC, said, “UCC is one more step in the direction of turning India into a Hindu majoritarian state where minorities are relegated to second class citizenship. The Hindu nationalist BJP has long been a proponent of the UCC precisely because it is an effective erasure of Muslim and other minority religious practices. True secularism is the acknowledgement and celebration of differences. The UCC is a tool that forces a minority to conform to the standards of uniformity set by an extremist majority.”
IAMC remains committed to upholding India’s secular and pluralistic ethos, and urges the international community to be vocal in condemning this latest move by the BJP to intimidate India’s religious minorities.