New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday the politics of appeasement, which led to the Partition, was the reason for the continuance of the "evil practice" of triple talaq for so long. Speaking at an event here, Shah defended the law criminalising triple talaq, asserting that it establishes gender equality.
"Some people level allegations against BJP government that such action is anti-Muslim. I want to make it clear that this is only and only to benefit Muslims, not the Hindus, Jains or Christians," he said. It was a "nightmare" for crores of Muslim women who were denied of their rights, he said. He said 92.1 per cent of Muslim women supported criminalisation of triple talaq. Coming down heavily on the Congress, Shah, who is also BJP President, said the party has "no shame" and continues to oppose the law on triple talaq.
The home minister said it took several decades to end this evil practice because of the Congress, which always resorted to the politics of appeasement. Referring to the then Rajiv Gandhi government's decision to bring a law to overturn the Supreme Court judgement in the Shah Bano case, he said it would be considered a "black day" in the history of Parliament. There is no doubt in the minds of those favouring triple talaq and those opposing it that it was an "evil practice".
People should welcome moves for eradication of any evil practice, but there is opposition in case of triple talaq. "The politics of appeasement is responsible for it," he said. Some parties were in the habit of coming to power on the basis of vote-bank politics, that's why such evil practices continued, he said. The politics of appeasement has been a hurdle in the path to achieve development and social cohesion in the country. "When some people are hungry for power, they resort to the politics of appeasement. They are not concerned about Muslim women but concerned only about vote-bank," he said.
But, "when your intention is social uplift, you have to work hard for it, you have to plan it," he said. "The election of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister in 2014 was the beginning of the end of politics of appeasement and the 2019 mandate is to end it forever," said Shah. The home minister said that had the practice of triple been part of Islamic culture, why did so many Muslim countries have ended it. That means this evil practice is anti-Islam and Islam does not support it. As many as 19 countries have ended triple talaq between 1922 and 1963. "This evil practice of triple talaq was going on for long and the Modi government has abolished it forever and given the Muslim women the right to live in dignity and equality," he said.
Shah said many people said it was a civil matter, so why did you criminalise it. "When 'Sati pratha' (self immolation by Hindu widows) was abolished, no one opposed it. When child marriage was ended, no one opposed it. In case of child marriage, there is a provision for two years jail. Similarly, dowry is a civil matter. In dowry case, if just the demand is made, there is a provision for two years' imprisonment," he said. The triple talaq has been criminalised to educate people, to create fear among some people that "if you do this, you will be punished". "Earlier, triple talaq had no provision for maintenance for women. Now, we have made provision for maintenance," he said.
The home minister said he wanted forgiveness from Muslim women as they had to suffer for long because of this evil practice. "I wish you a bright future ahead and want to assure you that I would leave no stone unturned to ensure your social security," he said. Shah flagged three issues which he said were threat to Indian democracy -- casteism, dynastic politics and appeasement. "The Modi government has ended all these three and has been working for the all-round development of all classes of people. Our government will leave no stone unturned to fulfil the aspirations of people," he said.
He also said the NDA government does not function on the basis of casteism, dynastic politics and appeasement. "We believe that everyone should get equal opportunity on the basis of talents," he said. Shah said people should give votes to the party which works for the welfare of the people and for the leaders who can establish India in world stage. The home minister said in the five-and-a-half years, the Modi government has taken more than 25 historic decisions which are giving the country a new direction. "This is a reflection of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decisive leadership," he said.
Shah was speaking on 'Abolition of Triple Talaq: Correcting a Historic Wrong' at an event organised by the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation here. The legislation to criminalise instant triple talaq was passed by Parliament last month. The triple talaq act makes declaration of talaq-e-biddat or pronouncing talaq three times in spoken, written or through SMS or WhatsApp or any other electronic chat in one sitting illegal.
Criminalising the offence, it gives a police officer powers to arrest the offender without requiring a warrant. To check misuse of cognisable nature of the offence, the legislation makes declaration of talaq-e-biddat a criminal offence only if the complaint is filed by the aggrieved woman or any of her relation by blood or marriage. A magistrate can grant bail only hearing the aggrieved woman. The aggrieved woman is entitled to demand a maintenance for her and her dependent children under the legislation.