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Demand of Uniform Civil Code product of majoritarian impulse: Amnesty Chief
Sunday October 16, 2016 7:48 PM, News Network

Modi govt

Stating that triple talaq and polygamy are likely to be the next ground on which Hindutva will assert itself, writer, columnist and executive director of Amnesty International (India) Aakar Patel on Sunday questioned the motive behind the Modi government's stand on the matter.

In his weekly column titled 'Why Hindutva wants Uniform Civil Code' published in a local English daily, Patel said the country at present is ruled by a party with Hindutva ideology, at work to fulfill its long term controversial demands although they have negative intention and impact that might invite trouble in coming days.

"India is today under a party with an ideology, which is called Hindutva. This ideology has three demands: Abolishing of Article 370 of India’s Constitution, construction of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple at Ayodhya and enforcement of Uniform Civil Code.

"All the three issues require something from the minority communities. Article 370 requires Kashmir’s Muslim majority to give up their constitutional autonomy, the temple requires Muslims to give up their mosque, and the Uniform Civil Code requires them to give up their personal law.

"For this reason it is possible to view these demands as being negative and the product of a majoritarian impulse, rather than positive. I mean that they appear to be not as well-intended as those demanding the changes make it appear. This is validated by what happened to the temple movement once the mosque had been torn down by Hindutva. The movement collapsed because it was more negative, meaning against the mosque, than positive, meaning in favour of the temple", he said.

On the question of polygamy, Patel exposed the Hindutva propaganda by citing data which shows Hindus outnumber Muslims when it comes to having more than one wife.

"The second issue is the matter of polygamy, which is where the real interest of Hindutva lies. It is felt that polygamy is the instrument through which Muslims reproduce faster than Hindus and at some point will become a majority.

"The incidence of polygamy is actually higher among Hindus than Muslims according to the data, but the perception is powerful enough to drive this demand for the Uniform Civil Code", he said.

Aakar Patel's article is published amid heated debate on the issue started after the Modi government submitted in the Supreme Court its stand supporting the demand to ban triple talaq and polygamy.

In its affidavit in Supreme Court on October 7, the Modi government argued that polygamy and Triple Talaq should be done away with, and said that such practices "cannot be regarded as essential or integral part of the religion".

On the other hand, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is of the view that the government or the court have no right to interfere in their personal laws as per the constitution.

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