Trilok Singh Cheema, the sole Sikh MLA in the Uttarakhand Assembly, has rejected the charge that the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is anti-minority in any way.
Cheema, who hails from Kashipur, mounted a strong defence of the Bill in the assembly, saying: “Some people will try to create communal confusions for personal and political reasons but CM Pushkar Dhami has tried to clarify that no religious reform or practice is being encroached upon. Eighty countries that have Muslim population have UCC. If we wish to be a Vishwaguru, we have to bring UCC.”
As per the last census, Uttarakhand has about 3 per cent Sikh population. It has two of the holiest shrines of the Sikh faith — Hemkund Saheb and Ponta Saheb — making it a pilgrimage site for Sikhs from across the world.
The Shiromani Akali Dal, which claims to have Sikhs as its core constituency, had said that any attempt to have a Uniform Civil Code could encroach on personal laws of the Sikh community too.
In its official response to the Law Commission, SAD said a Uniform Civil Code is “not in the interest of the nation”. Party leaders said a uniform code for marriage and divorce could impact the sanctity of the Anand Marriage Act, under which Sikhs are allowed to register their marriages.
When News18 asked Cheema if Sikhs in Uttarakhand have similar concerns, the BJP MLA said: “I don’t think Sikhs here have any concerns with the UCC Bill. The Bill allows religious customs like Nikah, Saptpadi, and Anand Karaj. So where is the problem?”
Cheema said the law is a much-needed reform for gender parity which can be implemented throughout the country. “Our women have been discriminated against. Gender disparities must be removed if Ram Rajya is our aim…this will go a long way in development of the country,” he added.