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BJP extends full support, Cong boycotts

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UCC committee holds discussion with political parties

By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun, 26 May: The state BJP has fully supported implementation of the Uniform Civil Code in Uttarakhand while interacting with the expert committee headed by retired Justice Ranjana Desai tasked with drafting the UCC. The party made it clear that it is against legalising same-sex marriage and according marital status to live-in relationships. A delegation of the Uttarakhand BJP led by its state vice president Dr Devendra Bhasin called on members of the Expert Committee and submitted their suggestions, yesterday. The delegation informed the Committee that BJP is strongly in favour of implementing a Uniform Civil Code in the state, which it considers fully constitutional.

Meanwhile, the Congress abstained from the meeting of political parties convened by the expert committee ahead of the preparation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) proposal. No representative of the party attended the meeting. The party claimed that it has not been provided the necessary information to enable them to submit suggestions and reservations before the committee.

The BJP delegation led by Dr Devendra Bhasin said that the party strongly believes women must have equal rights in the matters of marriage, divorce and property inheritance irrespective of religion, class or society. It also stated that, since the citizens are the basic foundation for any country and society, determination of their rights is an important subject for them. These rights should be based on the fundamental principle of protecting the unity and integrity of the country.

The BJP further stated that the culture and heritage of the country and the state should also be kept in mind while deciding the rights of citizens. They should not have a negative impact on the basic identity of India and Uttarakhand. Equality is expected to be an important aspect of the Uniform Civil Code. It should create a sense of equality in every section of society. No message should be sent across that a particular class or community has special rights or rights of exclusion based on religion or class. The BJP delegation also included BJP Mahanagar President Siddharth Agarwal and Satyaveer Chauhan.

The delegation asserted that the women must be ensured equal rights in matters of inheritance of property as well. The rights of women should be equal to that of men, and women should not be seen as neglected or secondary by any section of the society. They should have equal rights with men in property and they should also get equal rights in their maternal home from childhood and then, after marriage, in their in-laws’ home. Similarly, in the case of divorce, rights of the men and women should be equal.

The BJP submitted some more suggestions before the committee which included – the followers of all religions should have equal rights, so that an environment of mutual respect and harmony can be maintained; the followers of no religion should have the right to do any such work that may cause trouble to the people of other religions; there should be a complete ban on forced or mass conversion and only voluntary conversions should be allowed of individuals; religious places should be built only after due permission of the authorities; the evils going on in the name of religion or tradition in marriage, divorce or other social matters should be removed and registration of every marriage should be made mandatory by simplifying the process of registration.

On the other hand, Congress abstained from the meeting of political parties convened by the expert committee. No representative of the party attended the meeting. The party said that necessary information which could enable them to submit suggestions has not been provided to them.

In this regard, quoting Congress State President Karan Mahra, party spokesperson Garima Dasauni said the invitation for the meeting was received from the expert committee. They added that the Congress had sought information related to the UCC and the background related to it from the expert committee, so that on the basis of this, the Congress Committee could have also given its suggestions. The Congress leaders claimed that despite continuous urging by the Congress, no information was provided to the party by the committee.

Mahra said that whenever suggestions are sought on any issue, its background or draft should be made available. If a draft had been received, the Congress Committee could have given its suggestions in this regard. Therefore, the party has decided that it will submit its suggestions or arguments only after thoroughly studying the draft prepared by the committee. That’s why there was no representation from the Congress side at Thursday’s meeting. In this regard, the secretary of the committee has been informed through a letter.

It may be recalled that suggestions are being sought from all the stakeholders on behalf of the committee to prepare the draft of UCC. In this regard, a meeting of all political parties was called by the committee on Thursday, so that they could give their suggestions before preparing the draft.