Union Home Minister Amit Shah has assured a delegation of Nagaland government officials, led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, that the Centre is actively considering exempting Christians and certain tribal areas from the proposed Uniform Civil Code (UCC). The move comes in response to the concerns expressed by the delegation regarding the potential impact of the UCC in Nagaland, a predominantly Christian state, where religious practices are protected by Article 371(A) of the Constitution.
The 12-member delegation from Nagaland met with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on July 7 to discuss the apprehensions surrounding the proposed UCC. During the meeting, the delegation highlighted the potential repercussions of implementing the UCC in Nagaland and emphasized the importance of protecting the religious practices of the Christian community. Responding to their concerns, Shah assured the delegation that the Centre is actively considering exempting Christians and some tribal areas from the purview of the 22nd Law Commission’s exercise, which involves the formulation of the UCC.
The Uniform Civil Code has been a prominent issue in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto, yet it remains to be implemented. Recently, there has been a surge of momentum around the UCC, with the Law Commission seeking feedback on the proposed code and receiving an overwhelming response of nearly 2 million replies. Additionally, a committee appointed by Uttarakhand has finalized a draft of the UCC, which will soon be submitted to the state. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed support for the UCC, opposition parties and various religious and tribal groups have raised concerns about its implications.
During the meeting, the Nagaland delegation also raised the issue of the protracted Naga political problem, emphasizing the need for a swift resolution. They conveyed to central leaders that the issue has been dragging on for an unreasonable period of time and should be settled at the earliest. The delegation’s plea resonated with the authorities, highlighting the urgency to find a comprehensive and final solution to the Naga political issue.
The delegation also discussed the Centre’s proposal for the formation of an autonomous council called the Frontier Naga Territory, which would encompass six eastern districts of Nagaland. This proposal was put forth in response to the demand for a separate state by the Eastern Nagaland Peoples Organization (ENPO). The government spokesperson confirmed that negotiations are reaching a conclusive stage, and preparations for outlining the concept and structure of the new entity are underway. The process will involve tripartite discussions, including the state government, to reach a detailed and final agreement.