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Bihar assembly polls: AIMIM to contest from Seemanchal

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photo credit: www.bihar-election.in
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By NewsGram Staff Writer.

Hyderabad:All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) on Saturday decided to contest the Bihar assembly elections. Party president Asaduddin Owaisi announced that the party would contest only from Seemanchal region of the state.

aimim

He told reporters that the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) will soon announce the number of seats it will be contesting for. He also announced that Akhtarul Iman would be the president of the Bihar unit for AIMIM. Iman, a Three-time legislator of Bihar, quit the Janata Dal United last year.

Seemanchal region in Bihar comprising four districts accounts for 24 assembly seats in the 243-member assembly. The Hyderabad MP said the backwardness of Seemanchal would be the main poll issue for his party. “We will demand a regional development board under Article 371 of the constitution for the overall development of Seemanchal,” he said blaming the Congress, BJP, RJD and JDU for the region’s backwardness.

Owaisi, who addressed a public meeting in Seemanchal last month, made it clear that AIMIM would contest the elections on its own. He, however, did not rule out post-poll alliances.

“We are realistic about our chances. We know our strengths and weaknesses,” said Owaisi when asked why his party chose to contest in only one region.

The Muslim leader said the party would carry Dalits and Other Backward Classes (OBCs). These sections make up 70 to 75 per cent of Seemanchal’s population.

“Why do you limit us to Muslims. You have Dalits, OBCs and various people. We are talking about development of Seemanchal which includes every section of society,” he said.

For the rest of Bihar, Owaisi appealed to people to defeat communal forces. “There are communists and others. There are many options before people,” he said when asked if he was urging people to vote for the grand alliance of the JDU, RJD and Congress.

“You are not the only flag-bearers of secularism. We are not coolies of secularism. We also have the capacity and credibility to take on communal forces,” he said.

“Did MIM contest the elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir? How did the BJP win? Today, ABVP swept Delhi University elections. Was our youth wing contesting there?” he asked.

The AIMIM chief urged his political opponents to stop blaming his party for their weakness and inefficiency. Bihar will be the third state after Telangana and Maharashtra, where MIM will be contesting the assembly polls.

The party, which has its stronghold in Hyderabad, has one MP and seven members in the Telangana assembly. The party also made an impressive debut in last year’s Maharashtra elections by winning two seats out of the 26 it contested in the western state.

(With inputs from IANS)

 

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Lok Sabha passes Bill that criminalises triple talaq

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 was passed by a voice vote after rejecting a resolution moved by Revolutionary Socialist Party member N.K. Premachandran that the legislation is circulated for public opinion. 

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Triple talaq
Activists of various social organisations hold placards during a protest against "Triple Talaq" in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (VOA)

New Delhi, Dec 28: The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed a bill that criminalises instant divorce with three years of imprisonment for Muslim husbands after the government rejected an overwhelming demand from the Opposition to refer the legislation to a Parliamentary standing committee for detailed consideration.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 was passed by a voice vote after rejecting a resolution moved by Revolutionary Socialist Party member N.K. Premachandran that the legislation is circulated for public opinion.

Various amendments moved by opposition members, including Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) and Premachandran, were negatived in divisions.

Lok Sabha cleared the Triple Talaq bill
Lok Sabha cleared the Triple Talaq bill

The government’s determination to get the Bill passed could be gauged from the fact that it was introduced in the morning and taken up for consideration in the afternoon by suspending relevant rules and then passed in the evening by sitting late beyond the scheduled close of the House.

Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who introduced the bill and later piloted it in the Lok Sabha, said history was being created today.

He said the issue was not of religion or faith but of “gender justice and gender equality” and appealed to all the parties to rise above political considerations and politics of vote bank. “Women are seeing that justice will be done to them. Let us speak in one voice that we are for gender justice and gender equity and pass the Bill unanimously,” Prasad said, winding up the discussion.

He said instances of instant triple talaq continue despite the Supreme Court ruling it as unconstitutional in August this year. The bill seeks to declare pronouncement of talaq-e-biddat (three pronouncements of talaq at one go) by Muslim husbands void and illegal in view of the Supreme Court verdict.

Prasad said while Justice Rohington Nariman and U.U. Lalit held in their judgment in August that instant divorce was unconstitutional and the government should look at bringing a law, Justice Kurian Joseph had observed that what is a sin in Islamic laws cannot be legal.

During the debate, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi accused the Congress of appeasing Muslims
During the debate, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi accused the Congress of appeasing Muslims

The Minister saw no justification in the demand for referring the Bill to a standing committee saying the affected Muslim women were crying for justice and were fully backing it. He said there was a contradiction in members wanting it to be referred to a standing committee and some arguing why it was not brought earlier.

The Bill makes the act of pronouncing talaq-e-biddat punishable offence. There is provision for subsistence allowance from the husband for the livelihood and daily supporting needs of the wife as also of the dependent children. The wife would also be entitled to the custody of minor children.

Intervening in the debate, Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar said time was now ripe for the passage of the legislation in the interest of Muslim women. He recalled an instance of a British journalist interviewing the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru after the passage of the Hindu code Bill when she asked when would the government introduce reforms in Muslim laws.

Nehru was not opposed to reforms of Muslim personal laws but merely said the time was not opportune then, Akbar said. “That time has come now.”

Though Opposition members, including from the Congress, supported the legislation, they wanted it to be referred to a parliamentary committee so that several lacunae can be removed and the provisions strengthened in favour of Muslim women. The law must ensure that subsistence allowance and maintenance to the women and the children were not stopped, they felt.

Some felt that the BJP government was in a haste to pass the Bill, not because of its concern for Muslim women but because it sees this as a first step towards bringing in a uniform civil code. They wanted the measure to be given up immediately.

During the debate, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi accused the Congress of appeasing Muslims and said there is a need for codification of Muslim personal laws in the country.

“They (Congress) always did appeasement politics for which the country has paid for 30 years and today we have this chance. If we lose this chance today we will not have another chance.,” she said.

“Codification of Islamic law is needed in this country. No one knows what is Sharia, Talaq-e-Biddat… No one knows the difference,” she added.