by Muslim Mirror Staff
In a national seminar organized by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] to address the issue of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), General Secretary Sitaram Yechury criticized the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), alleging that the UCC is being used as a political tool to further communal polarization. The event, held at the Calicut Trade Centre near Sarovaram Biopark, witnessed the participation of influential representatives from the Muslim and Christian communities.
Yechury emphasized that uniformity should not be mistaken for equality, highlighting the need to rectify discriminatory laws through community consultations rather than imposing the UCC from the top.
“Uniformity does not mean equality. The CPI(M) stands for equality like the Constitution of India stands for equality. And it’s that equality that we need to fight for…that everyone of us is first a human being and then everything else follows,” Yechury said.
He pointed out that the 21st Law Commission, appointed by the Modi government, had concluded that the UCC was not necessary or desirable at the present stage.
The CPI(M) leader expressed concerns that any attempt to enforce uniformity would fracture the social fabric of the country.
“UCC is a slogan that is meant to sharpen communal polarisation and not to actually achieve any uniformity at all…but to be used as a political tool by the BJP for sharpening communal polarisation,” Yechury added.
He cited examples of the existence of the Special Marriage Act, which allows interfaith marriages, but noted that issues such as punishments by ‘khap panchayats’ and honor killings persist.
“When this announcement was made by the Prime Minister, the Nagaland CM met the union home minister and later publicly said that assurances were given that the proposed UCC will not apply to tribals and Christians,” Yechury pointed out.
M V Govindan, the CPI(M) state secretary, accused the government of attempting to communalize the country by pushing for the UCC.
“BJP is trying to take the country back to the ‘chaturvarna’ system and frame a Constitution based on ‘Manusmriti’ through the UCC,” Govindan said.
Rajya Sabha MP and Kerala Congress chairman Jose K Mani also denounced the move, linking it to other controversial measures such as the Citizenship Amendment Act and the imposition of Hindi, which he claimed were aimed at eroding the nation’s identity. Mani also expressed concerns over violence targeting minorities in Manipur.
Prominent community representatives present at the seminar voiced their opposition to the UCC. Mukkom Umar Faisy, representing the influential Samastha Kerala Jem-iyyathul Ulama, affirmed their solidarity with all those opposing the proposed code.
Fr Joseph Kalarickal, representing the Thamarassery diocese under the Syro Malabar Church, expressed concern over the recent notice issued by the Law Commission regarding the UCC.
“Our country is known for its unity in diversity. The government, which is supposed to protect the culture and traditions of all citizens, is encroaching upon our unity in diversity,” the Christian priest said.
The CPI(M) seminar, which witnessed significant public participation, was marked by the absence of the Congress party, as the CPI(M) decided not to extend an invitation due to the party’s lack of a unified stance on the UCC. While the CPI(M) invited the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), an ally of the Congress in Kerala, the invitation was declined.
The discussion on the UCC in Kerala has gained political momentum following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent push for its implementation. He questioned the practicality of functioning with dual laws governing personal matters.
The CPI(M) seminar served as a platform for MPs, ministers, Christian priests, and representatives of various Muslim organizations, including Elamaram Kareem, Mani, P A Mohammed Riyas, A K Saseendran, and Ahmed Devarkovil, to participate and share their perspectives on the issue.
(with PTI inputs)