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’Debate on uniform civil code not an issue for most Indians’

Monday 14 March 2005

Kolkata, March 14. (PTI): The issue of a uniform civil code does not affect either the rural farmer or the tech-savvy IT professional, moderator and eminent journalist Dileep Padgaonkar said at the end of a debate here last evening.

Notwithstanding the views of the moderator about common perception, the topic generated much heat during The Telegraph Calcutta Club National Debate with eight well-known speakers dwelling at length for and against the motion.

The debate saw eloquent orators like Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Vasundhara Raje and Seshadri Chari advocating the need for a Uniform Civil Code not only to ensure citizens rights as per the Constitution, but also to enforce gender justice in its true spirit.

As the ’controversy courting’ Mani Shankar Aiyar, leading the ’no uniform code’ brigade, questioned the sincerity of former law minister Arun Jaitley in trying to enforce such a code during his tenure, he also made a strong point by stating that individual personal laws existed becuase individual communities and their religious beliefs existed.

"Why does the Hindu community in this country want to impose something it wants on all other minorities? One should not forget that it was a similar conviction which resulted in massive blood letting in Gujarat", Aiyar, a self-confessed atheist, said.

But despite being accorded a stormy reception in West Bengal from youth Congress and CPI(ML) Liberation outfits, Modi was the most cheered figure at the elitist Calcutta Club grounds as the lone speaker in Hindi with his contention that secularism had come to connote ’emotional blackmail of the minority’ and ’Hindu bashing’ in this country.

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