Vol. XLIII No. 20 May 19, 2019

Triple Talaq bill smacks of communal polarisation, than equality for Muslim women

MOHAMMAD Salim, Member of Parliament in Lok Sabha termed the triple talaq bill as unnecessary and inappropriate. Participating in the discussion on December 27 he said exactly a year ago we had discussed about this issue and we had opposed it even at that time. In the Rajya Sabha a committee was formed but the report is still awaited; then you brought in an ordinance. This shows how parliamentary democracy is functioning under your regime; all with desperation.

Salim pointed out that the main objection that the Party has to the bill is that it pertains to a civil wrong which should be dealt in a civil form. The government however is hell-bent to criminalize a civil wrong. He reiterated that such a bill should have been referred to a standing committee which should undergo a due process of consultation with various stakeholders and experts. The women groups should be consulted and brought on board.

While referring to the issue of triple talaq he said the Left and other progressive forces since beginning have been against such unequal forms of customs. We demand gender equality. But one basic point should not be missed and that pertains to a fact that Muslim women are part of Muslim community. Muslims are part of this country and these are Indian Muslims. He targeted the BJP for befooling the people by posturing that they (BJP) are the saviors of Muslim women. How can they protect the Muslim women when their various outfits kill Muslim men through mob lynchings under one guise or the other?

He termed the concern of BJP as crocodile tears that has to do nothing with the actual problem existing in the society. He said the BJP should look into its own track record. Just recently, the Bulandshahr under the BJP rule has exposed the hollowness of their tall claims where a police inspector was killed. The BJP that builds its power structure on the basis of injustice cannot claim to be deliverers of justice.

Salim while explaining about the struggle of Muslim women spoke about the Shah Bano case and later Shamima Ara case of 2002 in Allahabad High Court. He said the court held the position that ‘triple talaq’ is not legal. Hence this issue is not new rather the PM is using it as its cannon fodder for politics. There is a history of over five decades of struggle against triple talaq by Muslim women organisations and other progressive groups. The main purpose of the bill however is to divert the real issues of the people.

Today the minorities are in trouble. All sections of the people apparently are facing the wrath of Modi’s policies but Muslim minorities are deliberately targeted. There are issues of equality and security. Almost a decade ago Sachar committee recommendations are shelved completely. The Muslims demand equality but the government turns its head around and is not interested to hear it.

He also pointed out at the issue of deep insecurity prevailing in the society and amongst the Muslim minorities in particular. He said their issues of social security; security of the family, political security and cultural security are very genuine and real. Instead of addressing these issues the government has diverted the discourse to triple talaq which is basically to sidetrack the real demands and problems of the Muslim minorities.

He mentioned the name of Meenakshi Lekhi of the BJP who had pointed out that marriage is a contractual agreement and hence a civil matter. Once this contract gets broken the outcome should be addressed in a civil manner and not in a criminal form.

Taking the BJP to task, Salim pointed out that the need to take the criminal matters seriously is deliberately being diluted. People are burnt alive, rape of children whether it is Asifa or another dalit girl; the government shuts its eyes just like a Heron does. The government is communally profiling the Muslim minority sections and terming them as terrorists which also hurts the Muslim women, he said.

He also spoke about the empowerment of the Muslims especially the youth. He asked for better education, employment and empowerment. This is what the government is not doing. The condition of the Muslims is deplorable in our country he said.

In the end he emphasized for a parliamentary committee to look into the bill. He once again reiterated his commitment for gender equality and against getting rid of the easy way of talaq. He said every section of the population must get justice; it cannot be selective for a few. He said the conditions of the Muslims will further deteriorate with the ongoing policies of the present government. Hence a joint parliamentary committee must be formed and this is what the SC has said that it is the job of the parliament.