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Uniform Civil Code Threatens Minority Existence, says Top Sikh Body

In a high-level meeting chaired by SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), a leading representative body of the Sikh community, expressed its strong opposition to the proposed Uniform Civil Code (UCC) put forward by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government.

The committee declared the UCC as unnecessary for the country and detrimental to the principles of ‘unity in diversity’ enshrined in the Constitution.

The SGPC said that the UCC, which seeks to establish a standardized set of laws applicable to all citizens regardless of their religious beliefs, undermines the principle of unity in diversity and disregards the unique customs and traditions of different religious communities, including the Sikh community.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, Harjinder Singh Dhami said, “There is an apprehension among the minorities in the country regarding the Uniform Civil Code that this code will hurt their identity, originality, and principles.”

The SGPC’s opposition aligns with concerns expressed by several Muslim bodies, suggesting a shared apprehension among religious minority groups.

To address the issue, the SGPC has taken the initiative to form a sub-committee comprising Sikh intellectuals, historians, scholars, and lawyers. This sub-committee will study the potential implications of the UCC on the Sikh community, evaluate its compatibility with Sikh principles and traditions, and formulate a comprehensive response or strategy to protect the interests and rights of the Sikh community.

Dhami emphasized the Sikh community’s firm belief in the importance of Bani Bana (Gurbani and traditional Sikh attire), Bol Baale (sublime and supreme words or thoughts), principles, traditions, values, lifestyle, culture, independent existence, and distinct identity. He stated that any challenge to these aspects of Sikhism cannot be tolerated or accepted. Furthermore, he stressed that the Sikh Maryada (code of conduct) should not be subject to scrutiny or evaluation based on secular or worldly laws.

“The Sikh community opposes the UCC,” Dhami said.

Dhami also highlighted that the 21st Law Commission had previously rejected the idea of a Uniform Civil Code, deeming it neither desirable nor feasible.

This resolution passed by the SGPC marks the third time within a year that they have expressed their opposition to the UCC. In November 2022, the SGPC characterized any proposed UCC as a strategy aimed at promoting the interests of the majority community, driven by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and perceived it as a step towards establishing a Hindu Rashtra (nation). In December 2022, the SGPC accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of introducing the UCC proposal to mobilize majority voters in Assembly elections and criticized BJP national executive member Iqbal Singh Lalpura for his silence on the matter.

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