Uproar Over Army's UCC Seminar in Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah Criticize

Uproar Over Army’s UCC Seminar in Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah Criticize

A day after sending out an invite for a seminar in Kashmir on the Uniform Civil Code, the Indian Army Saturday said it had been “cancelled due to implementation of the Model Code of Conduct”.

Titled ‘Navigating Legal Frontiers: Understanding Indian Penal Code 2023 and the Quest for Uniform Civil Code’, the “legal awareness seminar” was scheduled to be held at the Kashmir University on March 26. Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court, Justice Kotishwar Singh, was the chief guest, while the invite had gone out on behalf of Major General PBS Lamba, General Officer Commanding (GoC) HQ 31 Sub Area. J&K law secretary Achal Sethi was among the speakers at the event.

According to the event schedule, topics that were supposed to be discussed included “challenges and benefits of moving from a system of diverse personal laws to a uniform legal code”, “how a uniform civil code aligns with the principles of secularism and its potential impact on fostering social harmony in a diverse society”, “how uniform civil code may contribute to upholding individual rights and freedom”, and “specific reforms needed for family law and inheritance laws, highlighting the potential benefits and concerns associated with UCC”.

The proposed seminar drew criticism from former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah.

In a post online, Abdullah, the National Conference vice-president, asked: “Is it appropriate for the Indian Army to get involved in the divisive issue of the uniform civil code and that too in a sensitive area like Kashmir? There is a reason the Indian army has remained apolitical and areligious. This ill-advised UCC seminar is a threat to both these basic tenets. Going ahead with this risks opening up the Army to charges of getting involved in the murky world of politics coupled with interfering in religious matters.”

Speaking to The Indian Express, Peoples Democratic Party chief Mufti said, “Indian military is the fourth strongest and one of the most disciplined forces in the world. But since BJP has weaponised religion and is infiltrating it into all sacred institutions of the country, the Army seems to be yet another casualty.”

PDP spokesperson Najmus Saqib said the seminar “depicts how far the lines between politics and security apparatus have blurred in J-K”.

On Saturday evening, the Army PRO sent out a message, citing the poll code and alerting that the seminar had been cancelled. Source

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