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HomePoliticsCongress's Muslim ex-minister was catalyst behind Modi's triple talaq bill push

Congress’s Muslim ex-minister was catalyst behind Modi’s triple talaq bill push

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Arif Mohammad Khan, who quit Rajiv Gandhi cabinet over Shah Bano, cited instances of triple talaq even after SC judgment, and urged PM to bring in a law.

New Delhi: ‎Arif Mohammad Khan, who resigned from Rajiv Gandhi’s cabinet over the Shah Bano case, has disclosed that he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in early October to trigger the idea of a law to criminalise instant triple talaq.

Revealing details for the first time, Khan told ThePrint he had started reaching out to the PM in September itself, after a triple talaq case in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, came to his attention. However, he was told on 13 September that the PM was busy with the official visit of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.

He then decided to write a letter to the PM, which reached the PMO on 6 October. The very next day, the PM invited him for a meeting.

“I told the PM that the law should make triple talaq punishable and also cognizable, as poor Muslim women can’t fight their cases,” Khan said.

This one-hour meeting, he said, was followed up by a call from the law ministry in the evening, which sent officials to meet him at home the next day.

But what provoked Khan in the first place?

“I got a call the day after the Supreme Court judgment of 22 August that a woman had been given triple talaq in Ghaziabad. I called the police officer and they took action. But without any legal section, all they could do was call the family to the police station and convince the husband,” Khan said.

Then came a case, which upset Khan so much that he decided to reach out to the PM.

On 5 September, he said, an incident of triple talaq happened in a family known to him in Bahraich, his old Lok Sabha constituency.

A young woman and her husband were returning to Bahraich from Kerala where the husband worked. At Gonda railway station, the nearest stop for Bahraich, Khan said the husband called the woman’s father and brother. “He told them he has given their daughter talaq thrice, and that they can come and pick her up from the station,” Khan said.

“I tried to convince the boy saying it is illegal, but he was adamant. This went on for a week.”

On 13 September, Khan said he called the PMO and asked for an appointment, but was told Modi was occupied with Abe’s visit.

Khan then wrote a letter to Modi — a copy of which is with ThePrint — urging him to enact a law.

“In 1986, we enacted a law to render the Shah Bano judgment ineffective, and today, if we don’t enact a law, then the judgment of 2017 will be rendered ineffective, and the country will lose a tremendous opportunity to have a regime of family laws that ensure gender equality and gender justice,” he wrote.

No wonder BJP MPs singled out Khan for praise during the triple talaq debate in the Lok Sabha Thursday. But Khan in turn gave credit to Modi.

“I gave whatever inputs I could. But even after all this, I was expecting the government to take time over this. Hats off to Narendra Modi for expediting the process, so that the bill could be presented in the winter session,” he said.

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  1. A leader who resigned over an issue which his party was not supporting,
    A brilliant Muslim leader who cld contribute little to the country bcause of his small stint in the congress govt, but had huge potential, now we r standing at the cross roads of history as if law is not made at thi stage, the Supreme Court judgement shall only be on paper as Muslim men wld go on following this age old male chauvinist practice, it will be very sad for the Muslim women , After treading the road so far, let us not let history criticise us for not doing justice for the Muslim women ,

    • Though we are categorically opposed to triple talaq we cannot allow it to be a cognisable crime only because it will be used to settle scores with Muslim men even if they have not pronounced it. Anyone can phone the police and without warrant the man will be behind bars.
      Triple talaq at least frees the woman. Men who can’t divorce will try to kill the wife like it happens in other communities

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