K. Balchand

Laws enacted "under pressure from separatists"

President Kalam, Muslim Law Board vice chairman favoured the code, he says Points to similar codes in Pakistan, Indonesia, MalaysiaRepeal of POTA without alternative law encouraged terrorists

PATNA: Condemning the terrorist attacks on the Jama Masjid and in Jammu and Kashmir, Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh on Saturday demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh constitute a committee to initiate a discussion and come to a consensus on the need for a common civil code.

Talking to the media on the tenth day of his yatra, Mr. Singh attributed the rise in terrorism to the enactment of laws under pressure from separatist movements across the country.

Mr. Singh advocated a common civil code for national integration. He underlined the Supreme Court's concern in not giving shape to the directive principles in the Constitution. He also said President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Muslim Personal Law Board vice chairman Kalbe Sadiq favoured a law to the effect.

Pointing out that a common code was in place in Goa without causing any rift, Mr. Singh said that it should be seen in the context of national integration and unity alone and not on any other consideration. He said a similar code was in place in several Islamic countries like Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Mr. Singh held the UPA Government responsible for the rise in terrorism. The repeal of POTA without an alternative law had sent an encouraging signal to terrorists.

On the NDA Government's failure in enacting a common code, Mr. Singh said the alliance had its limitation. However, he denied any difference of opinion among its constituents. The BJP would fulfil its promise once it comes to power on its own, he said.

Replying to a question, he denied that his predecessor L.K. Advani had disassociated himself from the decision to swap prisoners, including Masood Azhar, for hostages at Kandahar in 1999.He said the Cabinet Committee on Security had unanimously taken the decision in the national interest.

Mr. Singh opposed reservation on religious lines and favoured a consensus for the construction of the Ram Mandir.