Army Cancels Seminar on UCC in J&K After Backlash from Political Parties – News18

Last Updated: March 23, 2024, 17:24 IST
Srinagar, India
Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah questioning the Army's involvement in a divisive issue like the Uniform Civil Code in a "sensitive" place like Kashmir. (PTI file photo)
The Army in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday cancelled a seminar, which was aimed to raise awareness about the Uniform Civil Code and other topics after a backlash from the political parties here.
The Army late Friday sent invitations to the media houses for a seminar on the subject “Navigating legal frontiers: Understanding Indian Penal Code 2023 and the quest for Uniform Civil Code”.
The seminar was scheduled for March 26 at the Kashmir University Auditorium.
However, there was a backlash from the regional political parties with former chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah questioning the Army’s involvement in a “divisive” issue like the Uniform Civil Code in a “sensitive” place like Kashmir.
“Is it appropriate for the Indian Army to get involved in the divisive issue of the uniform civil code & that too in a sensitive area like Kashmir? There is a reason the Indian Army has remained apolitical & areligious. This ill-advised UCC seminar is a threat to both these basic tenets,” Abdullah said in a post on X.
He said going ahead with the seminar risks opening up the Army to charges of getting involved in the “murky world” of politics coupled with “interfering” in religious matters.
His party colleague and NC’s chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to “assess the appropriateness” of the Army discussing an issue that figures prominently in the BJP’s manifesto while the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is in effect.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also criticised the Army for conducting the seminar.
“What we are seeing is the continuation of the trend of ‘Naya Kashmir’ and Akhir Kab Tak campaigns in which the Army as an institution was seen as playing a partisan role and directly interfering in the political affairs of J-K,” PDP spokesperson Najmus Saqib said.
“Post backlash, we had seen some systemic changes, but unfortunately the seminar by the India Army as an institution depicts how far the lines between politics and security apparatus have blurred in J-K,” he added.
Saqib said this is a “very dangerous trend” and is a “manifestation of larger systemic erosion of the Constitution”.
After the backlash, the Army cancelled the event “due to implementation of the Model Code of Conduct”.
“The Legal Awareness Seminar on March 26 by Kashmir Jurist in Kashmir University has been cancelled due to implementation of the Model Code of Conduct,” Srinagar-based Defence Spokesman Lt Col Manoj Sahu said.
The invite for the seminar to the mediapersons was sent by Srinagar-based PRO Defence on behalf of General Officer Commanding HQ 31 Sub Area, Major General PBS Lamba.


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