What does the return of triple talaq bill mean?
Yesterday, at the first meeting of the council of ministers of the new government, one of the bills approved by the Union cabinet was the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019. This means in the Parliament session beginning Monday, NDA will once again try to pass this legislation, which earlier the opposition had blocked in the Rajya Sabha. Whether NDA now has the numbers there to finally get its way is one matter. Perhaps the broader matter is what this says about the minority outreach that has been signaled by Modi 2.0.
It’s been nearly two years since the Supreme Court took away the legal status of triple talaq, a practice that is outlawed in more than 20 Muslim-majority countries. Opponents of earlier versions of the bill have asked, what would Parliament achieve by criminalizing what is already illegal? It has been passionately argued that this criminalization will not only intimidate Muslim men but also cause hardship for Muslim women.
At the very start of his second innings as Prime Minister Narendra Modi fore-fronted the task of earning the trust of minorities. Alongside he has fore-fronted the slogan ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas’. The promise of a focus on education and health, has already been backed by the announcement of scholarships for five crore students from minority communities over five years, with 50% reserved for girls. But now the triple talaq bill has been put back on the table. And the talking heads of the community are once again passionately split on the government’s intentions. This is a reminder, if any was needed, that minority outreach of Modi 2.0 will be a bumpy journey.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.