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New Delhi: Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said at a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh event recently that the state’s cabinet has approved the formation of a committee to formulate a Uniform Civil Code for the state.
“We will soon implement the Uniform Civil Code. I would like other states to follow this template,” Dhami said, according to Times of India.
Dhami also promised a “more stringent” anti-conversion law and said that he will “act tough” on “mazaars mushrooming in Uttarakhand.”
The current anti-conversion law, Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, also dubbed the ‘love jihad’ law – to give credence to the Hindutva claim of a conspiracy by Muslims to marry and convert Hindu women – has a five-year jail term provision. At the same time, as The Wire has reported, Uttarakhand also has a scheme to incentivise interfaith marriage.
At the RSS function, Dhami said that the Uttarakhand cabinet saw a proposal to implement the Code in its very first meeting after formation, on March 24.
The Code will ensure the same laws on marriage, divorce, land, property and inheritance for all irrespective of faith, he said.
He said that a “committee of jurists, retired judges, enlightened people of the society as well as other stakeholders” will be made.
No state in India other than Goa has a Uniform Civil Code. The call for a uniform code – a system under which all personal laws will be done away with – has been made at various points, especially by those seeking equal treatment of all genders. However, grave concerns and questions have been raised over the Bharatiya Janata Party governments’ implicit objective of using such a code to forward anti-Muslim legislation, like the ‘love jihad’ laws in BJP-ruled states.
“It is a strange phenomenon that the votaries of Uniform Civil Code (UCC) are often great believers in the ‘love jihad’ myth. That ‘love jihad’ is an untruth, is surely known even to those who fulminate most angrily about it,” lawyer Sarim Naved had written for The Wire.
At the RSS meet, Dhami also spoke on efforts to curb “illegal arrivals” to the state, which are allegedly causing “demographic changes.” In April, Dhami had issued instructions to the state police to carry out a verification drive to “check the backgrounds of people who have settled in Uttarakhand but hail from different states.” Following this, 201 ‘suspicious’ people were identified.