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'BJP is targeting Hindu vote through triple talaq issue'

By Syed Firdaus Ashraf
September 19, 2018 17:40 IST
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'Why is the government in such a hurry?'
'The answer is the December assembly elections and the 2019 general election.'

IMAGE: Muslim brides interact with each other as they wait for the wedding ceremony to begin during a mass marriage ceremony in Ahmedabad. Kindly note the image has been published only for representational purposes. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Shortly after the Union Cabinet approved an ordinance on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, making the practice of instant talaq punishable, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board expressed its disapproval of the move, stating that it was against the principles of Shariah and an interference in Muslim personal law.

"There is no doubt that the ordinance to make the practice of instant triple talaq a criminal offence is politically motivated," senior AIMPLB member Zafaryab Jilani tells's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.

Your first reaction to the instant triple talaq ordinance.

I have not yet seen the ordinance. I have just heard the news of the ordinance being passed by the Cabinet. I would say this move is politically motivated.

The Bharatiya Janata Party did not pass the bill in the Rajya Sabha, so why this hurry to pass the ordinance now?

Since elections are around the corner, the Bharatiya Janata Party wants to use this to its advantage.

They postponed this bill in the Rajya Sabha twice and now they are passing an ordinance.

There is no doubt that this is politically motivated.

The BJP says the Congress did not support the bill in the Rajya Sabha despite repeated requests.

When the Rajya Sabha decided that the instant triple talaq bill be sent to the select committee, then it should have been referred to the select committee.

How can the bill then be passed in the Rajya Sabha? This means the government does not want to obey the House.

Why is the government in such a hurry? The answer is the December assembly elections and the 2019 general election.

What benefit does the BJP get in passing this ordinance from an election standpoint?

The BJP is targeting the Hindu vote through the triple talaq issue.

Those who are under the illusion that Muslim women will vote for the BJP after the ordinance are completely wrong.

Muslim women have come out in crores to support us (the AIMPLB).

The BJP could not bring about the Uniform Civil Code so they passed this ordinance on triple talaq.

Why would Hindus vote for the BJP over the triple talaq issue?

It is not the issue of triple talaq; their (the BJP's) agenda is to introduce a Uniform Civil Code in the country.

Why is it mentioned in their manifesto?

They have to show Muslims as enemies, therefore they have issues like Article 370 and Aligarh Muslim University.

Some Hindus who consider Muslims as their enemies or want to see them as second class citizens are happy with such issues. Their numbers may be 10 or 15 per cent, but they feel happy with such issues.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says the issue is about giving justice to Muslim women.

Will Muslim women decide the triple talaq issue or the Modi government?

We have got crores of Muslim women in our support. Let them bring at least 100 Muslim women in their support on the triple talaq issue. That has not happened till date.

Bharatiya Muslim Andolan's women members came out on the roads supporting the triple talaq bill.

How many of them did you see? Did you see their number in lakhs?

Forget lakhs, not even a thousand Muslim women came out on the roads.

On the contrary, we got crores of women on the roads to support us. Compare that with their morcha.

The media never highlights the support that we get from Muslim women. They just want us to be projected as backward and feudal.

Our laws are god-given and followed by the Shariat, therefore there cannot be any change in that.

And the Indian Constitution has given us the right to follow what we believe in.

Now the government has taken that right away by bringing in the ordinance making instant triple talaq illegal.

The Supreme Court too said this, and Muslims too don't like instant triple talaq.

We too say instant triple talaq is not good and a sin. So what has the Modi government taken from us?

We have said instant triple talaq is not good, what else do you want us to say?

But you are not in favour of abolishing instant triple talaq.

That we cannot do even today. It is not in our right.

The Shariat law says so and we have no right over it.

Do you feel that in a pluralistic society the government must not interfere in the civil matters of a community?

The government is bound to do so and the Constitution is there to protect us from it.

There can be no interference in personal law and this message was given by the Supreme Court too.

What steps will you now take post the ordinance?

We have not seen it. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board had earlier said it will take action in the Supreme Court if the government passes some wrong ordinance on instant triple talaq. It is against the Constitution.

Do you feel the Modi government is imposing this law on Muslims?

They have not finished our right to go to the Supreme Court. Their intention is surely wrong, but lawmaking is their job. We have no complaints with their lawmaking.

Our job is to protest and the Supreme Court's door is always open for us.

The message being sent out is that Muslim men are against women on this issue; they are feudal and want to suppress women.

The media is giving this message. Muslim women came out on the roads to support us, but still the media does not see it, so what can I do?

I spoke to Zakia Soman...

(Interrupts) You don't talk to me about her. You ask her how many Muslim women she represents.

Tell her to get one lakh Muslim women in her support and only then talk about Muslim women's issues.

She does not represent helpless Muslim women. Why should I talk about her?

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