Kolkata, November 03, 2016: A forum of Muslim organisations in West Bengal on Thursday opposed any interference by the government in matters of religious practices, including the triple talaq, saying it was a subject governed by personal law.
NewsGrambrings to you latest new stories in India.
The newly-formed forum, comprising 40 religious organisations, also said it will hold a public meeting on November 8 here to press for its several demands including higher honorarium to Imams and muezzins.
“We believe enforcement of new norms on a specific religion or religious group is an attack on India’s sovereignty. Central government should not have intervened or commented on century old Muslim practises,” said Forum convener Mohammad Kamaruzzuman about the government’s move to oppose the practice of triple talaq before the Supreme Court.
Calling it unconstitutional and gender discriminatory, the centre’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has called for abolishing the practice.
Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues.
About the November 8 public meeting, Kamaruzzuman said the forum will raise the issues of protection from interference to Muslim personal laws, as well as increase in the honorarium for clerics.
Alleging that the state government paid honorarium to around 55,000 imams and muezzins in the state was paltry, the forum said they would demand at least three times hike.
“The Trinamool Congress government pays honorarium of Rs 2,500 to the clerics, which hasn’t increased in the last five years. We would demand an honorarium of Rs 10,000 for the Imams and Rs 7,000 for the muezzins,” he said. (IANS)
India’s parliament has passed a measure to criminalize the centuries-old practice of instant divorce among Muslims and punish men with jail terms if they defy a ban on what is known as “triple talaq.”
The government said a law was necessary because there have been instances of Muslim men continuing to terminate marriages by repeating the Arabic word “talaq” three times, although the practice was outlawed by India’s Supreme Court in 2017.
The bill sets a fine and a jail sentence of up to three years for men convicted of using the practice. It will become law as soon as the president signs it. In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “an archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbins of history,” and it “corrects a historical wrong done to Muslim women.”
The measure, called the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill, was passed in the upper house of parliament amid protests from the main opposition Congress party, which opposed setting a prison term for offenders and wanted further scrutiny of the bill.
Critics of the law say it is a harsh measure that’s open to misuse and is being used by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to target Muslims. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad defended the bill, saying it was necessary to protect the dignity and honor of Muslim women and ensure gender justice.
The bill’s passage is seen as a major victory for Modi’s government, which failed to pass it during Modi’s first term in office. The bill had been passed by the lower house last week, but all eyes were on Tuesday’s vote because the government does not have a majority in the Upper House. It passed 99 to 84.
The practice of “triple talaq” has long been banned in several Muslim countries like Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan but continued in India.
Zakia Soman, a cofounder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) organization, which was at the forefront of the legal battle to scrap “triple talaq,” welcomed passage of the bill. “It will not change our lives overnight, but it would give strength to the movement for justice for Muslim women,” according to Soman. She said “it was a moment to rejoice.”
Women rights activists had cited many cases where men had divorced women via letter, telephone and, increasingly, by text message, WhatsApp and Skype by uttering or writing the three words. They said what was practiced in India was a misinterpretation of Islamic law.
Conservative Muslim clerics, however, had staunchly opposed efforts to scrap “triple talaq,” calling it a religious issue that should not be interfered with. Although India’s constitution guarantees equality, it allows matters such as marriage, divorce and alimony to be governed by religious laws.
Tahir Mahmood, an expert on Islamic law, said he hoped the law would act as a deterrent on Muslim men divorcing wives in an arbitrary manner. He said the practice should not have been made a criminal offense, but he pointed out that religious leaders of the community had failed to do anything to curb the practice.
Some scholars of Sharia law call “triple talaq” a travesty of divorce as envisaged in the Quran. They say the word has to be pronounced over three months and accompanied by efforts at reconciliation. (VOA)