Mumbai: The High Priest of Iranshah in Udwada, a significant religious site for Parsis globally, Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor, has refuted claims attributed to him saying that Parsis “would welcome Uniform Civil Code” (UCC) even though it may impact the “culture” of Parsis “in the interest of the country”. The news of his alleged stance had gone viral within the Parsi community, with many people criticising him.
Dastoor: I have been misquoted
Dastoor clarified to the Free Press Journal (FPJ), “I have been misquoted. I have not said that Parsis would welcome UCC, nor do I feel that UCC will be welcomed by the Parsi community. There are some people who are up to mischief and spreading this.”
In a clip he shared, Dastoor is heard saying in Gujarati, “UCC is important for the country. Small and big problems will be there in it for all communities. But if we are to run a country, if we run our respective homes, the father of the house sets certain rules and we have to live as per that. For the country also we need a rule based on which the country can run. With respect to the UCC, the Parsi Community has problems on one or two fronts like adoption and marriage. We will sit with the government and solve it. There does not seem to be any other major problem. The Parsis and the community have always been a law-abiding citizens and community.” Aan extended version of the video was sent later in the night where the priest is also heard saying, “UCC should be respected”.
Earlier, the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP), the Parsi community's apex body, informed members that they are seeking "total exemption" from the UCC and had formed a committee of Dasturjis (priests), religious scholars, senior legal advisers, and retired judges to guide their trustees on this matter.
After several meetings, they issued a message to the community, signed off by all the trustees, that stated, “...In summary, our response elucidates the need for the government to grant us as a community ‘total exemption’ from the UCC, supporting our arguments with our unique reasons. Maintaining our ethnic identity and protecting our customs, traditions, and religious practices, which have been the reason for our migration to India in the first place, in gist, is the drift of our arguments in this letter....”.
The Parsi Punchayet trustees stated plans of making a statement as a board and speaking to Dastoor regarding the matter. “All Dastursjis (religious priests), religious scholars, BPP, and various Parsi trusts are opposing UCC. If he has supported UCC, he will face criticism," said Dr Viraf Kapadia, a member of the community. Another community member, Noshir Dadrawala, said, “Glad he says it's not his views and he is misquoted. He should issue a statement to clarify if he likes. But it is his choice if he differs.”