ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Divide and Delude

Criminalising triple talaq is a clever ploy to divide Muslims and the opposition.

 

On New Year’s Eve, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that his government had ensured that Indian Muslim women could now travel to Mecca for Haj on their own without a male escort. This was yet another instance of embroidering the truth. Or rather, a plain lie. In 2015, the Saudi Arabian government altered the rules for women travelling for Haj and said that those over the age of 45 did not have to be accompanied by a man as long as they formed a group of four. No government can decide the rules for entry into another country and in this case it is Saudi Arabia that decides. The fiction apart, what explains Modi’s and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) sudden concern for the welfare of Muslim women, particularly when it has been silent about the problems Muslim men have faced in the name of the cow ever since it came to power?

The justification for the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, a law that criminalises the act of instant divorce, introduced and passed without debate in the Lok Sabha, is apparently an extension of this same concern. If that concern were genuine, how is it that the very Muslim women’s groups, demanding a ban on instant triple talaq or “talaq-e-bidat” followed by one section of Indian Muslims were not consulted in the formulation of the law? Indeed a few weeks before the law was tabled, one of the groups that had been party to the case in the Supreme Court urged for wider consultation before the law was finalised. The group voiced its opposition to making the practice of instant triple talaq a criminal offence and pointed out that previous laws concerning women had always been preceded by wide consultation with concerned groups. It concluded that “since marriage is a civil contract between two adult persons, the procedure to be followed on violation of this contract needs to be civil in nature, and one which strengthens the woman, instead of making her more vulnerable.”

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Updated On : 9th Jan, 2018

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