Kohima, 24 June (MTNews): In response to the Law Commission’s call for feedback and reflection on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) in a strong worded statement issued on Saturday expressed its opposition to the implementation of a UCC in India accusing the government of attempting to ‘manipulate the social, culture and religious rights of the minority’.


While the NBCC acknowledged the Law Commission’s intention ‘to address discrimination against vulnerable groups and harmonize various practices’, it argued that India’s complex social fabric, characterized by diverse religions and cultures, must be recognized.


According to NBCC, the Uniform Civil Code is an endeavor to establish supremacy over the tribals and the religious minority for their own benefit. By codifying social, cultural, and religious practices, the church argued that the government would undermine the deeply rooted values and norms of these communities, thereby violating the fundamental rights of marginalized minorities.


One of the primary concerns raised by the NBCC is the potential erosion of religious freedom guaranteed by Article 25 of the Indian Constitution. “It is a well-known fact, that once this gets through, the entire Article in the constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion and constitutional freedom to practice the religion of choice which allows religious communities to follow their respective personal laws will be snapped,” the church stated.


The NBCC emphasized that religion and faith are personal practices that cannot be codified. “In a secular nation, the law cannot prescribe on religious matters. Rather, preserving diversity and multiculturalism has to take the center stage quarantining confidence in the minds and lives of her citizens. It must never be forgotten that secularism has been defined as the strength of Indian democracy. And therefore, this adage must be preserved at all cost,” the church added.


Amidst a decline of “Unity in Diversity” in the world, the NBCC pointed out that the minority communities in India have often been cornered, ignored and left undefended. In such a scenario, the church stated that the term “uniformity” is seen as a threat, symbolizing the dominance and supremacy of the majority.


Stating that India is not a homogeneous society but a nation that encompasses different races, cultures, and religions, making it a melting pot of various traditions, the church emphasized that what unites the nation is the ‘face of secularism’, and, therefore, the church believes that this must be expanded so that peaceful coexistence will be appreciated and adhered to.


The NBCC believes that the UCC is perceived by the common people as an attempt by the majority to dominate and control minority groups in India. It is seen as an effort to avoid the plurality of religious and culture-custom practices and silence the rights of marginalized and vulnerable communities, depriving them of their socio-religious-cultural rights.


“It must be made known that, religion, faith and cultural practices which are deeply rooted in personal convictions cannot be defined by an act of law on the pretext of uniformity. The law can only define the role of the citizens and how one must conduct himself/herself in the larger interest of the community as a good citizen but beyond that it cannot define my faith, my cultural practices and my social connections to flow with the majority,” it stated.


Stating that they cannot compromise on their sacred book as Christians, the NBCC contends that with this move, the majority will impose its social, cultural, and religious practices on the minority, effectively rewriting history through the lens of a particular community.


“It is a move to rewrite the whole history in the light of one particular community and it is become clearer with the passage of time. To this, NBCC will oppose to such move and India must not allow this to happen,” the church concluded.

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