Prime Minister, Narendra Modi's pitch against 'triple talaq' has added fuel to the contentious debate on the divorce practice of Muslims, with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday saying those silent on the issue were as "guilty" as the ones practising it.
The All India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB) asked the Uttar Pradesh government to draft a strict law against triple talaq, similar to the one which banned the practice of sati, to prevent Muslim women from getting victimised.
The Hindu far right also reacted angrily to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board's (AIMPLB) assertion that Muslims have a constitutional right to follow their personal laws of which 'triple talaq' was a part, contending the Sunni outfit was responsible for "all problems" faced by the community.
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While deprecating any outside meddling with the Muslim personal law, the AIMPLB had said it would issue a code of conduct under which those pronouncing 'triple talaq' without valid reasons mentioned under 'Sharia' (Islamic law) will face social boycott.
Adityanath, known for his hardline Hindutva image, questioned the "silence" of the political class on the "burning issue" of triple talaq.
Drawing an analogy between the silence of politicians on triple talaq and that of the nobles during the disrobing of 'Draupadi' in the Mahabharata, he said in Lucknow, "Those in the political class that are keeping mum need to be put in the dock along with the perpetrators of the crime and their accomplices."
Reacting sharply, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) termed Adityanath's remark as "jaahilaanaa" (foolish).
"These days, there is a new debate in the country on a burning issue. Some people are maintaining silence on this issue. This reminds me of the scene in the Mahabharata in which Draupadi is being disrobed and she asks a question to the gathering as to who is responsible for this incident, this sin?" Adityanath said.
"No one uttered even a single word. Only Vidur said people who have committed the crime, the accomplices and those who maintained silence on this issue are equally responsible," he said, referring to the practice of triple talaq.
Adityanath made these remarks at an event to mark the 91st birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar. Calling for an end to the Muslim practice of triple talaq the Chief Minister also advocated a uniform civil code in the country.
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His remarks came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch against the divisive issue of triple talaq, insisting that exploitation of Muslim women should end and justice be done to them.
Modi had, however, spoken against any attempt at creating a "conflict" within the Muslim community on the issue and suggested tackling it through social awareness.
On Adityanath's statement, AIMPLB General Secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani said, "I don't know how to react to the jaahilaanaa (foolish) statement. He is linking talaq with a greater issue -- the disrobing of Draupadi. No sane person will do so. He is looking at things using a different lens (doosraa chashmaa)."
Meanwhile, the All India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB) spokesman Maulana Yasoob Abbas said merely boycotting those guilty of pronouncing talaq without reasons mentioned under the Sharia will not amount to doing justice to the aggrieved woman.
The Shias among Muslims do not practise triple talaq. Abbas drew a parallel between pronouncing triple talaq in one go and the sati, the banned Hindu practice of the wife immolating herself on the dead husband's funeral pyre.
"The need of the hour is to enact a strict law against triple talaq in one go that is similar to the anti-sati law to prevent any Muslim woman from getting victimised and ensure that the culprit is punished," he told PTI in Lucknow.
"Triple talaq is wrong as also is the tendency to remain silent on this issue. Giving triple talaq in one go to a woman is a sin, but it cannot be equated to disrobing (of Draupadi)," he said, referring to Adityanath's analogy.
With the hugely divisive issue being hotly debated, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad attacked the AIMPLB on triple talaq, saying the Islamic body was not ready to give equal rights to women, whom they treat as an "object".
"AIMPLB is responsible for all problems faced by Muslims. They still assume women as objects and are not ready to give them basic fundamental right of equality.
"Muslim women should have equal rights in cases of talaq at par with men," Jain said in a statement in New Delhi, asking the Modi government to bring a law guaranteeing equal rights to Muslim women.