The General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], Sitaram Yechury, alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is exploiting the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) as a political tool to exacerbate communal polarization in the country. He made these statements during a national seminar organized by the Left party, which aimed to discuss the implications of the proposed UCC.
Yechury emphasized that uniformity does not equate to equality, stressing that laws deemed discriminatory must be rectified through consultations with the entire community rather than being imposed 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.
The CPI(M) leader pointed out that the 21st Law Commission, appointed during the tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, had already expressed that the UCC was neither necessary nor desirable at the current stage.
Highlighting the potential dangers of imposing uniformity, Yechury warned that such actions could lead to tearing 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 instances of honor killings and punishments being meted out by “khap panchayats” despite the existence of the Special Marriage Act, which permits interfaith marriages.
“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, denounced the move to enforce the UCC, considering it an attempt to communalize the nation.
“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 shared similar sentiments, stating that the push for the UCC was part of a broader effort to erode the country’s identity, as seen with the Citizenship Amendment Act and the imposition of Hindi.
Representatives from influential Muslim and Christian religious communities participated in the event. Mukkom Umar Faisy, representing the Samastha Kerala Jem-iyyathul Ulama, vowed to join all those opposing the UCC.
Fr Joseph Kalarickal, representing the Thamarassery diocese under the prominent 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 national seminar, held at the Calicut Trade Centre near Sarovaram Biopark, saw significant public participation. However, the CPI(M) decided not to invite the Congress party due to its lack of a united stance on the matter. The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a major ally of the Congress in Kerala, also declined the Left party’s invitation to participate in the seminars.
The UCC has become a topic of intense political debate in the state following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent strong push for its implementation, questioning the viability of having dual laws governing personal matters in the country.
The seminar served as a platform for various MPs, ministers, and religious representatives to voice their concerns and opinions on the contentious issue of the UCC.
(with PTI inputs)