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Bengal Muslim Groups in West Bengal oppose any interference by the Government regarding Triple Talaq

Calling it unconstitutional and gender discriminatory, the centre's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has called for abolishing the practice

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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)

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Triple Talaq Now Banned In India

While most Hindu personal laws have been overhauled and codified over the years, Muslim laws have been left to religious authorities and left largely untouched.

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Indian Muslim women talk while walking through a market in Ahmadabad, India. VOA

India’s government on Wednesday approved an ordinance to implement a top court ruling striking down the Muslim practice that allows men to instantly divorce.

The government decision came after it failed to get approval of Parliament a year after the court ruled that the practice of triple “talaq” violated the constitutional rights of Muslim women.

Most of the 170 million Muslims in India are Sunnis governed by the Muslim Personal Law for family matters and disputes. The laws include allowing men to divorce by simply uttering the Arabic word “talaq,” or divorce, three times — and not necessarily consecutively, but at any time, and by any medium, including telephone, text message or social media post.

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Triple Talaq continues to plague lives of  women, VOA News

The government will have another six months to get Parliament’s approval for the ordinance to become law. But in the meantime, suspects can be prosecuted using the ordinance.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that nearly 22 countries, including neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, have banned the practice and appealed to the opposition to approve the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill.

India’s Muslim Law Board had told the court that while they considered the practice wrong, they opposed any court intervention and asked that the matter be left to the community. But several progressive Muslim activists decried the law board’s position.

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Muslim women hold placards during a protest against a bill passed by India’s lower house of Parliament last week that aims at prosecuting Muslim men who divorce their wives through the “triple talaq,” or instant divorce. VOA

After the Supreme Court verdict, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government introduced a bill criminalizing the practice and it was approved in December by the lower house of Parliament, where his party commands a majority. But it couldn’t get the approval of the upper house, where the opposition controls the majority of seats.

The main opposition Congress party is opposing a three-year prison sentence for the offenders and wants a parliamentary committee to discuss the issue to reach a consensus. It favors a lesser sentence.

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In India, triple talaq has continued with the protection of laws that allow Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities to follow religious laws in matters like marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption. While most Hindu personal laws have been overhauled and codified over the years, Muslim laws have been left to religious authorities and left largely untouched. (VOA)