Why no similar provisions for Hindu men deserting women?

New Delhi : With the government taking ordinance route to make ‘instant triple talaq’ a penal offence, opposition parties and women activists Wednesday asked why no similar provisions are made for Hindu men deserting their wives and alleged a “human issue” has been made into a “political football”.

Some said the ordinance ignores problems it could pose to Muslim women and there is need for a comprehensive law, while the Congress said what needed to be done after the Supreme Court quashed this practice was to provide justice to an abandoned Muslim woman and jailing the husband might not serve the purpose.

Ishrat Jahan, a petitioner in the triple talaq case, welcomed the decision as a big step towards “empowering Muslim women” and said Muslim men and religious leaders should now mend “their ways or be ready to face the music”.

She was one of the five petitioners in the case against instant triple talaq. This practice was struck down by the Supreme Court on August 22, 2017.

The issue, however, soon triggered a political slugfest with the BJP president Amit Shah targetting opposition parties on the issue.

“This ordinance is also a matter of guilt and introspection for them as they forced Muslims women to suffer from this bad practice for decades due to their vote bank politics,” he said.

The law minister also attacked the Congress at the cabinet press conference itself, saying the main opposition party was not supporting the bill pending in Rajya Sabha under “vote bank pressures”.

The Congress on Wednesday said the Triple Talaq ordinance was unnecessary and just a gimmick for vote bank politics after the Supreme Court laid down the law on August 22 last year declaring the instant triple talaq as illegal and unconstitutional.

Its chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said instead of PM Modi and Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad thumping chest to help out the Muslim women, they should answer why they did not bring a legislation or ordinance until the Supreme Court judgment in Shayra Bano case on August 22, 2017.

He said the Congress was the first political party to stress that instant triple talaq is inherently unsustainable in the modern day changing times.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi said the ordinance was “anti-Muslim women” and would do them more injustice. He demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should bring a law to protect Hindu women deserted by their husbands.

Owaisi also said marriage was a civil contract in Islam and bringing penal provisions was “wrong and unnecessary”, and hoped the Muslim Personal Law Board will challenge it in court.

“Prime Minister Modi, this nation requires a law for those poor married women who are 24 lakhs according to 2011 census. They are married and their husbands in the election affidavit say they are married but their wives are not living with them,” he said.

Owaisi claimed the ordinance was to divert attention from issues like rising fuel prices and dwindling rupee.

Several women activists also criticised the decision, saying this “politicised move” was taken without considering the complications it could pose to Muslim women.

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