Lucknow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his typical style while addressing an election rally in Uttar Pradesh raked up triple talaq issue. “What is the fault of my fellow Muslim sisters? A husband picks up phone and fires ‘three talaqs’ and destroys her life”, Modi said.
This was not the first time the issue was raised from the BJP stage. The BJP leaders, including Modi, are raising the issue since more than six months with frequent intervals.
In recent times before Modi, BJP President Amit Shah raised the issue in public rallies and also while releasing the party’s manifesto for the Uttar Pradesh elections.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad spoke at length on the issue in Karnataka and later during a press conference in Lucknow. Before that he also raised the issue in Ghaziabad.
Interestingly, Modi, Amit Shah and Ravi Shankar Prasad made contradictory statements each time they spoke on the issue. While Ravi Shankar Prasad, perhapse in his capacity as Law Minister, said the government will ban concurrent talaq or the controversial triple talaq as practiced in India, after the elections in five states are over, Modi merely touched the issue to express ‘sympathy’ towards the Muslim women ‘victimised’ by their husbands and seek their votes.
Amit Shah on the other hand took a totally different stand and asserted that the BJP government after coming to power in Uttar Pradesh will consult with Muslim women and take a stand on the contentious issue.
What is ironic in this entire debate is the fact that the three are trying to make ‘triple talaq’ a poll issue when the matter is sub judice and a ruling on the issue is pending in the Supreme Court. Moreover, the Modi government has already made its position on the issue clear in front of the Apex Court.
Putting aside the different tones they are talking in, what seems to be common between them is their desperateness to woo Muslim women and seek their votes in Uttar Pradesh where polling for the first of the seven-phase assembly elections is scheduled for Saturday February 11.
To what extent Modi and his colleagues will be successful? Ground realities, and the poll results, will show how wrong Modi and other BJP leaders are in their attempts to make ‘triple talaq’ a poll issue.
The first and foremost thing which goes against the BJP is their assumption that majority of Muslims are against triple talaq as practiced in India, and hence they will support them if they come out with a promise to ban it.
Wrong, and if you don’t believe sample this.
The Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), at the forefront of the issue and one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court, claimed to have garnered the support from more than 50,000 women who are against ‘triple talaq’.
In retaliation to anti-triple talaq crusaders, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) ran a counter campaign. The board claimed that its campaign received support from more than 02 crore women.
One can doubt over the number of women BMMA and AIMPLB both claim to have in their favour. But, what can’t be doubted is the massive difference between the two figures, showing the AIMPLB far ahead of BMMA in terms of numbers.
The government’s own data shows that number of Muslim women affected due to divorce is very less. Still, impression is given and a hype is created as if Muslim men just don’t have any other work than firing ‘three talaqs’ to their wives.
The other thing which Modi and BJP leaders are not ready to realise is the faith in Islamic Shariah which binds Muslim men and women so strongly that even if some of them are unhappy, as it is claimed in case of triple talaq, they will not go against the Shariah.
True, there is a need to reform in not just triple talaq as defined and practiced in India, but some other clauses of the Muslim personal law. But, the faith in Shariah which is a hurdle in the way of the BJP is a blessing for the Muslim panel, which despite being at fault, exploits it to garner support and suppress dissent and the needed amendments.
This is a very deplorable situation for the BJP. For, on one hand its leaders including the prime minister say they don’t need Muslim votes, on the other, in the lust of power and desperate bid to garner support from Muslim women they are trying to exploit an issue which is not suitable enough to reap them votes.
Remember, the BJP in the similar manner tried to make ‘cow slaughter’ an issue during the Bihar assembly elections. After the results were out, one of the most trending jokes on the social media was “cow gives milk, not votes”. One should not be surprised if someone from the social media comes out with similar cunning joke on ‘triple talaq’ after the UP elections.
[This article was originally published by India based Ummid.com and reproduced here with permission.]