New Delhi : Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said the BJP is committed to bring Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country but only after following all democratic processes and discussions on it.
Addressing an event here, he also exuded confidence in BJP’s victory in the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat assembly elections as also in the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) polls.
The home minister credited Prime Minister Naredra Modi for making the country’s politics free from the “naasur” (canker) of casteism, dynasty and appeasement.
“Modi ji has made country’s politics free from casteism, dynasty and appeasement and started politics of performance. Whosoever perform, will govern the country. Whosoever puts in effort, will govern the country. Those who are pro-country will govern (it).
“Nobody would rule on the basis of place of one’s birth or to the caste he or she belongs or how much appeasement somebody does,” he said, adding that the country’s people have accepted this policy of the Modi government.
Talking about the UCC, Shah said it has been a promise of BJP since its days of Bhartiya Jan Sangh. “Not only BJP, the Constituent Assembly had also advised the Parliament and states that UCC should come in the country at an opportune time,” he said at the Times Now Summit on ‘India: A vibrant democracy, global bright spot’.
Shah said for any secular country, laws should not be on the basis of religion.
“If a nation and states are secular, how can laws be based on religion? For every believer, there should be one law passed by the Parliament or the state assemblies,” he said.
He, however, said that the commitment of the Constituent Assembly was forgotten over a period of time. “Except the BJP, no other party is in favour of the Uniform Civil Code. They don’t even speak on it. If they don’t have courage, they won’t oppose it. But they won’t say that, ok you implement it we are with you. We are a part of a democracy. In a democracy, healthy debate is a necessity. There is a need for open and healthy debate on the issue,” Shah said.
He said in three BJP ruled states — Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Gujarat — a panel under the chairmanship of retired Supreme Court judge and High Court chief justices has been formed, where all groups and people of different faiths are putting forth their views.
“We will take any action on the basis of advice coming after this exercise…The BJP is committed to bring UCC but only after the conclusion of all democratic discussions,” he said.
On abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said many security pundits used to say that don’t touch 370, it will burn your hand. Now, Article 370 is gone and Jammu and Kashmir is prosperous and it has also helped in getting militancy controlled in the country, he said.
“It was propagated for years that Jammu and Kashmir was a part of India because of Article 370. Now there is neither Article 370 nor 35A, yet Jammu and Kashmir is with India,” Shah said.
A new democratic generation is coming up in Jammu and Kashmir where over 30,000 panches and sarpanches are percolating the democracy to grassroots, he said.
The home minister also said Rs 56,000 crore of investment had come into Jammu and Kashmir and a record 80 lakh tourists, the highest since independence, visited J&K since 2019.
“As far as militancy is concerned, since 1990s when it started, there are lowest incidents of militancy now. Stone pelting has completely stopped. It is zero. It is a very big development,” he said.
Shah said the roots of militancy and those harbouring it in Jammu and Kashmir are very deep but the government is committed to eradicate it completely.
“I assure you that in J&K, we won’t let militancy spread its roots and we are committeed to ensure the entire J&K is militancy free,” the home minister added.
Earlier, in his inaugural speech during the summit, the home minister said it was time that India’s democratic values were let known to the world.
He said the country was moving at a fast pace towards achieving the target of a USD 5 trillion economy by 2025.
“In 2014, the country had four unicorn start-ups and the number has now spiralled to over 100,” Shah highlighted.
When asked about allegations of agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate being misused ahead of elections, the home minister said that the federal bodies were working freely and anyone having grievances can move courts.
On the question of purported video of jailed AAP minister Satyendar Jain in which he is seen receiving special treatment at Tihar Prisons, Shah suggested that it should be posed to the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party to respond whether or not the video was genuine.
“If the video is genuine, the accountability lies on his party and you are asking questions from me. I had also gone to jail and resigned as minister. Such shamelessness to cling to the post of a minister even after lodged in jail is unprecedented”, he said.
When asked about provisions allowing the Centre to remove a minister in such a scenario, he said even the Constitution makers had perhaps not seen such things coming, and hence, there was no such provision.
On the Shraddha Walkar case, the home minister said Delhi Police and prosecution will ensure whosoever killed the 27-year-old woman will get the strictest punishment in minimal possible time.
“I have my eyes on the entire case. I just want to tell the people of the country that whosoever has done this, through due legal process, Delhi Police and prosecution will ensure strict punishment in the minimum time,” he asserted.
To a question on the need of having anti-conversion laws, Shah said wherever BJP-ruled state governments are there, such laws have been made.
“In Gujarat, I can tell you in detail. We have it and we are implementing it strictly as well. It is for state legislatures to decide on it,” he said.
When asked about the upcoming assembly elections in Gujarat, Shah said the contest is between the BJP and the Congress.
“We will beat all records in terms of seat and vote percentage in Gujarat,” he said.
The home minister said that the BJP will win elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh besides the MCD polls with huge margins.
On border issues in Ladakh, he said our border dispute with China is years old and it is a legacy of former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
“Who is raising the question? Under whom one lakh acre of land went to Chinese control, are they raising it? They should read history. As far as the BJP government under Narendra Modi is concerned, we are committed that this is a sovereign country. Not a single inch of its land will come under foreign occupation. It is our commitment to the people of the country,” Shah said.
On the row over Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Shah said not only BJP but the entire country termed Savarkar as ‘Veer Savarkar’.
“There is no need to settle this. It is settled. If one understands the difference between Savarkar and Veer Savarkar it is settled. It is not Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Bharat Ratna conferred by a government. 130 crore people have facilitated the bravery of Saravakar by eternally adding ‘Veer’ to his name. People who are making comments should try spending 10 days in the cell where Savarkar spent 10 years,” he said.
A row has erupted over remarks by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during the Maharashtra leg of the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra where he said that Savarkar had helped the British and wrote a mercy petition out of fear.