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Leading Muslim Scholar Tufail Ahmad proposes Revolutionary Uniform Civil Code (UCC) to initiate Public Debate on the Issue

A draft Uniform Civil Code is the first-ever attempt to bring specific issues before the public for a wider discussion, said Tufail Ahmad

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New Delhi, November 30, 2016: Tufail Ahmad, a leading Muslim scholar on Wednesday proposed a draft Uniform Civil Code (UCC) to initiate a public debate on it.

A former journalist with BBC World Service and author of Jihadist Threat to India – The Case for Islamic Reformation by an Indian Muslim, Ahmad has called it a working draft for public consultation.

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A uniform civil code was desired by the framers of the Constitution to ensure that basic fundamental rights of citizens, irrespective of their religious and other identities, are protected within a larger human rights framework, he said in a statement.

This UCC is drafted within a broader context of a Universal Bill of Rights for the Indian citizen (Ubric). This draft UCC is the first-ever attempt to bring specific issues before the public for a wider discussion, he added.

The 12-clause document is a working draft to be improved through wider public consultation.

At present, no draft UCC exists that could enlighten the people of India regarding the specifics that will constitute such a code, Ahmad explained of his venture.

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It is necessary to emphasise that the word ‘uniform’ in the uniform civil code is not meant to homogenise the lifestyles and identities of Indian citizens but to ensure that certain fundamental rights to equality and liberty are protected for them by the Indian state.

Ahmad also questioned political parties and civil society who have failed to make any attempt towards advocating UCC and said: No attempt has been made by the Indian government to draft a Uniform Civil Code for fear that political parties could lose Muslim votes.

Even civil society organisations and human rights activists have shied away from advocating a UCC for Indian citizens. This is a result of the prevailing erroneous belief that the uniform civil code is meant to curb personal laws, especially only of Muslims.

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The Law Commission had, on October 7, floated a 16-point questionnaire on its website asking the common people, activists, organisations and other stakeholders to give suggestions on the implementation of the UCC. The Commission has extended the period for submission of replies to December 21. (IANS)

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India will soon ask Malaysia to extradite Preacher Zakir Naik

India will soon approach Malaysia with a request to extradite hardline Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.

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India will Request Malayasia to extradite Zakir Naik
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  • India will seek the Malaysian government’s help in extraditing televangelist Zakir Naik who faces charges of money laundering and inciting hatred through his sermons broadcast on Peace TV, the foreign ministry said Friday.

Zakir Naik obtained permanent residency in Malaysia 

Officials will approach their Malaysian counterparts with the extradition request sometime within the next two weeks, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told a weekly news briefing in New Delhi.

“Any formal request seeking the assistance of a foreign government in cases of extradition requires a completion of the internal legal process involving consultation with other ministries involved in the case,” Kumar said.

“At this stage, we are nearing the completion of this process and as soon as this process is complete we will be making an official request to the Malaysian government in this matter,” Kumar said. “It could be a couple of days or a couple of weeks. But it would be soon and the nature of our request would also be clear.”

Naik fled India a month before terrorist carried out a massacre at a café in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in July 2016. This week, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister said the Islamic preacher legally obtained permanent residency in the country, and that Malaysian authorities would arrest him only if he broke local laws or was found to be involved in terrorist activities.

Naik’s speeches allegedly inspired some of the militants who carried out the siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery café in Dhaka, where 29 people, including 20 hostages and five gunmen, were killed.

In November 2016, the Indian government banned Naik’s Mumbai-based NGO Islamic Research Foundation, which partly funded the Peace TV channel that is banned in India, Bangladesh and several other countries.

Kumar said because the Indian government had knowledge of Naik’s whereabouts, the legal procedures would be tailored to requirements between the two countries in their extradition treaty.

Advocate challenges charges

“Naik is being hounded because he hails from a minority community. The charges that the investigating agencies are trying to frame are all stale and are hardly incriminating,” advocate S. Hariharan told BenarNews in a phone interview from Delhi.

“The charges lack veracity and would not stand scrutiny in the court of law. We will be challenging the extradition and deportation.”

Last week, the Indian government filed a 61-page charge sheet against Naik alleging he was involved in a criminal conspiracy by lauding terrorist organizations. In April, a non-bailable warrant was issued against him in an alleged case of money laundering through his NGO and a shell company.

In Malaysia meanwhile, the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) has urged the government to ignore any request from India to extradite Zakir Naik, Reuters reported.

“For Muslim individuals, even when they won by using arguments and not weapons, like Dr. Zakir Naik, they are considered terrorists because their arguments cannot be countered,” PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang wrote last week in an opinion piece published in Harakah Daily.(BenarNews)