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Muslim father finds humanity among Durga Puja organisers

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New Delhi: Amidst misguided efforts to drive a communal wedge in Indian society, a Muslim father seeking urgent financial aid for the treatment of his seven-year-old thalassemic daughter was pleasantly surprised when his appeal found positive response among several Durga Puja committees in the capital – his plea raising more than Rs 23,000 through which his daughter’s treatment is now possible.

“I approached Durga Puja committees in several south Delhi localities for financial assistance after my entreaties to mosque elders fell on deaf ears… I was always told to come later but no assistance was forthcoming,” Munsi Nazibul, a craftsman from West Bengal, who works in an embroidery unit in South Delhi.

Nazibul’s daughter is recovering but needs a bone marrow transplant to completely eliminate the blood disorder.

“My appeal to the committees gave me a pleasant surprise in that I was able to collect more than Rs 23,000 towards treatment of my ailing daughter who needs a bone marrow transplant,” Nazibul said.

While the media highlights conflicts and polarisation between Hindus and Muslims, fuelled by political elements and religious zealots on both sides, Nazibul said religion did not matter when it came to helping one another and this has always been so in this country at the people level.

“I might be a Muslim, but I will never turn away a person in need because of his religion and this is the exact treatment that I received while I was asking for the donations from the puja committees who are all Hindus,” he added.

Samir Banerjee, General Secretary of Durgostav, Greater Kailash II, who gave Nazibul a donation of Rs 10,000, praised him for his confidence to come to Hindu festival organisers for donation.

“Before he asked for the money, the first thing he said was ‘I am a Muslim’, and we asked, ‘What difference does that make,” he said.

According to Banerjee, Nazibul approached the Durga Puja committees because he felt that they would respond to his plea on humanitarian grounds without making religion an issue.

Nazibul received the same treatment at every Puja committee he approached, his appeal was heard by all, he said, without anyone questioning his religion or turning him away because of his Muslim faith.

“Religion should never come in between humanity. Turning away a person in need is a bigger sin,” Banerjee added.

(Karishma Kalita, 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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India
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.

Muslim
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)

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