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Opposing any move to enforce the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board ( AIMPLB) on Sunday in a meeting here resolved that the tenets of equality, justice and freedom enshrined in the Constitution are to be safeguarded responsibly by the government and the judiciary.
The AIMPLB, on the vexed issue of conversion, clearly said that religion and faith are matters of belief and conscience. Hence, the decision to follow a religion is natural. The Constitution honours this as a fundamental right and so everyone has freedom to follow a religion of his choice. It is unfair to use force or money to influence an individual in this matter.
“However, in many states, laws have been made to deprive citizens of this very basic right. This is totally unacceptable. Yet, those who willingly choose to switch from one religion to another are free to do so,” said the AIMPLB.
The Executive Committee meeting here presided by its president Maulana Rabey Hasan Nadwi at Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama was attended by majority members of the committee.
AIMPLB General Secretary Khalid Saif Ullah Rahmani said that several resolutions were passed in the meeting. The members made an appeal to the highest authorities to put in place stringent measures to control hatred that was being spread across the country before irreparable damage was done to the fabric of our nation’s harmony.
Members reiterated that for centuries India has thrived on the strength of integrity among its population that comprises innumerable religions, castes and factions, upholding thus the values vested in our Constitution.
“Law is a ray of hope for justice. Lawlessness steeps society into anarchy. Thus, whether the ruler or public, minorities or those in majority, the incumbent government or the opposition, affluent or the impoverished, it is mandatory for all to follow the rule of law and not take law in their hands. Unfortunately, lawlessness is prevailing in the country and attempts are to implicate the accused even before the prosecution and litigation take their course. Those holding peaceful demonstrations are framed under the most stringent of laws and put behind the bars indefinitely. Lawlessness, whether on the part of the citizens or the rulers, is condemnable and all citizens and stakeholders must oppose strongly,” they said.
AIMPLB also appealed to the judiciary to take a serious note of injustice being meted out to the weaker sections of the society and the minorities and thus fulfill their responsibility.
“Judiciary is the last hope for the public. No bigger misfortune can there be than disappointment on this front. The fundamental rights comprise in giving full freedom to all citizens,” the meeting resolved.
The Executive Committee meeting clearly said that implementing a Uniform Civil Code will deprive citizens of the privileges provided to them by Personal Laws and that is against the spirit of the Constitution.
“Such a Code is neither relevant nor beneficial for a multi-religious, multicultural and multilingual country like India. If, taking advantage of its majority in Parliament, the ruling government passes and puts into effect the Uniform Civil Code, it will affect the unity and harmony that bind the nation. It will hinder the country’s progress and will not bear any fruitful results either,” it said while adding that the Board appeals to the government not to pursue this agenda. Instead, they should focus on the live and present issues the country is facing.
The meeting also asked the government to ensure its proper implementation of Places of Worship Act 1991 passed by the Parliament. “The government must not surrender to the separatist powers and should responsibly safeguard the legal interests of all. Waqfs are religious properties established by Muslims for the welfare of the community; therefore, it is important to use them only for that purpose. It is unlawful for any citizen or government to grab waqf properties,” the members said.
The AIMPLB has strongly opposed statements by some public representatives instigating action to deprive Muslims of their waqf properties and appeals to the government to beware of such actions. The Board advises Muslims to take best and most responsible care of waqf properties.
In view of the circumstances prevailing, the Board also appealed to Muslims to establish more and more educational institutions to ensure that their religious and cultural values are preserved and thrive. Muslims should resolve their issues by turning first to the religious heads for advice. Intoxication, adultery, interest homosexuality and continuing to live with divorced spouses are practices that do not befit a true Muslim, nor are enforced by the country’s law.