The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), along with several other organisations associated with the Muslim community, has opposed the Law Commission’s questionnaire on the possibility of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC). Announcing that they would boycott the entire exercise, the organisations accused the NDA government of threatening the pluralistic fabric of India.
AIMPLB general secretary Wali Rehmani, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president Maulana Arshad Madani and representatives of other bodies addressed a press conference where the announcement was made. The Board suggested the Centre’s affidavit in the Supreme Court last week rejecting the validity of the triple talaq was an underhand means to impose a UCC in India.
The Board said there are “flaws” in the personal laws governing Muslims and they were being addressed from time-to-time. It said the country was facing problems on various fronts including the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan and issues like killings elsewhere.
“This is all destructive. The government should try to fix this and ensure peace than seeking views on issues like UCC,” Mr Madani said.
Mr Rahmani said contrary to the Commission’s claim, when implemented, the UCC will bring to an end country’s pluralism and paint all in “one colour”.
“People of different cultures stay in this country, if the UCC is implemented, attempts will be made to paint all in one colour, which is not in the interest of the country. Also, We don't want the practice of triple talaq to be abolished. There are more divorces in other communities. Rather the highest rate, which is double that of Muslims, is among Hindus," claimed Mr Rahmani.
Both Mr Madani and Mr Rahmani said the Muslim organisations will launch a campaign to create awareness about this move by the government amongst Muslims from Thursday, beginning with a gathering in Lucknow.
“The government is trying to divert attention of people from its failure. We hope it withdraws the move. If it doesn't, we will decide on our future course of action. At present, we are trying to create awareness among Muslims in the country,” added Mr Rahmani.
Women members of the Board, also present at the press meet, stressed that contrary to perception, the personal law balances rights of Muslim women and men "very well" and that there is no need for reforms in it.
“There is no need for any reform in the law. Triple talaq is not an issue and the government's move to impose UCC intends to snatch our religious freedom guaranteed in the Indian Constitution. That's the reason we are fighting for our rights,” Aasma Zehra, a Board member, said.
In a written statement issued later, the Board alleged that the Law Commission's decision to seek public feedback on UCC is a "calculated" move aimed at disrupting communal harmony and urged all "secular" parties to oppose the step.
“The questionnaire reveals in toto the intention of the Commission. Some of the questions point to the fact that it has been framed to target a particular religious group and their personal law,” the statement says.
Apart from Mr Rehmani and Mr Madani, others who issued the statement include Jamaat-e-Islami Hind's ex-vice president Mohammad Jafar, Jamiat Ulema Hind general secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat president Naved Hamid, Shia Jama Masjid Kashmeeri Gate imam Maulana Muhsin Taqvi and All India Milli Council general secretary Dr M Manzoor Alam.
Here's the Commission's >questionnaire on uniform civil code .