A lone Muslim minister in Uttar Pradesh on Friday slammed those supporting triple talaq, arguing that if uttering the word 'nikaah' (wedding) thrice does not solemnise a marriage, how can uttering the word 'talaq' thrice result in divorce.
"My simple question is if saying talaq-talaq-talaq results in divorce, then saying nikaah-nikaah-nikaah should mean that wedding has been solemnised," Waqf and Haj Minister Mohsin Raza said a day after the Lok Sabha passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill by voice vote.
He said going by the same logic, saying namaz-namaz-namaz should mean that prayers have been offered.
"No where it is written that saying talaq thrice will result in divorce. Do you think that by saying roza-roza-roza, my roza will be complete? Roza is a process, which has to be completed. Haj is a process, which has to be undertaken. Just saying Haj-Haj-Haj will not suffice. Similarly, talaq is a process," he told PTI in an interview.
Condemning the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, he said the AIMPLB have made a mockery of things and want to fulfil its vested interests.
He said the AIMPLB can come up with the logic that you need not to go to mosque and say namaz-namaz-namaz. "The AIMPLB should first learn the basic lesson of Sharia," he said.
Mounting attack on opposition parties for opposing the bill, he said, "Opposition should first say on what basis the AIMPLB should have been made a stakeholder while finalising the draft of the bill. The board is simply an NGO. There are many organisations working for social welfare and the AIMPLB is one of them."
Raza also said the AIMPLB is neither 'Shariat' nor the Constitution of India.
"As far as the opposition parties are concerned, they are always eager to take undue advantage of casteist and communal sentiments. They point fingers at us and accuse the BJP of being a communal party. In fact, the remote control of AIMPLB is in the hands of the opposition parties, who have been baffled (by the talaq bill)," the UP minister said.
More than the AIMPLB, it is the opposition parties who are baffled by the anti-triple talaq bill, as they seek the votes of the particular community, and hence they are talking like this, he alleged.
"Please try to think as to why the BJP or Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to take an initiative and draft a law in this regard at the first place. What was the need to do so? You call Modi as anti-Muslim. If the AIMPLB is a great well- wisher and thinks for the well being of the Muslim community, then it should list the welfare work done for the Muslims since its inception.
"In fact, the AIMPLB in the garb of welfare, talks about exploitation even today. Triple talaq is nothing but exploitation of hapless women," Raza explained.
On whether the provisions of the bill were tantamout to infringement on rights of Muslim men, he said, "The rights of women had been grossly violated. Unlike the AIMPLB, the BJP is of the view of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' and we stand for strengthening Muslim women.
"Muslim women have been dominated for ages by Muslim men. If the AIMPLB was so much concerned for the Muslim society, then why in the 1985 Shah Bano case, when the Supreme Court pronounced a judgement, they (AIMPLB) pressured the then Rajiv Gandhi government and the judgement was ultimately reversed. This resulted in Muslim women facing hardships since 1980s, and the AIMPLB and Congress are responsible for it," he said.
After the Supreme Court gave its judgement, there was political interference, Raza said, adding that it was aimed at deriving political mileage.
"At that time you (AIMPLB) conveniently forgot Shariat," he added.
Hours after the Lok Sabha passed the bill, the AIMPLB voiced serious reservations over its provisions and said it will take steps through democratic means to "amend, improve or scrap" the bill.
"We will take whatever steps required through democratic means to amend, improve or scrap it. There is no move to go to court as of now... The bill was brought in a haste," AIMPLB spokesperson Maulana Khalil-ur-Rehman Sajjad Nomani told PTI.
He said the board should have been taken into confidence on the issue.
However, AIMPLB member Zafaryab Jilani hinted that the board may approach the Supreme Court against the triple talaq bill once it is passed by the Parliament.
The AIMPLB wanted that the triple talaq bill should not be in conflict with either the Constitution, Supreme Court order or Muslim personal law board, he said.
The president of the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB), Shaista Amber welcomed the tabling of the bill but insisted that it should be in the light of the Quran and the Constitution to make it acceptable to the community.
"We welcome the tabling of the bill and this has given lots of hope to the women as triple talaq is an evil which has been haunting them," she said.
The Shia Waqf Board, on the other hand, called for making the punishment to those indulging in 'triple talaq' more stringent.
"I have urged the Prime Minister through a letter seeking a 10-year jail term to those indulging in triple talaq and lodging a criminal case against them," Shia Waqf Board chief Wasim Rizvi said.