A senior RSS leader on Monday sparked a fresh controversy over the Islamic practice of triple talaq, claiming the All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s stand on the emotive issue has “no relevance” since it’s an “unconstitutional” body without any “religious sanction.”
National executive member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Indresh Kumar even went on to demand that Indian Muslims should question the locus standi of the board.
The board was constituted in 1973 to protect and uphold Shariat or Islamic laws in India.
Triple talaq – under which a Muslim man can divorce his wife by uttering “talaq” thrice – has been thrust under the national spotlight after a number of women approached the Supreme Court to ban the ritual.
The BJP-led NDA government at the Centre in its affidavit in the apex court opposed the continuation of the social practice.
The law board is against a blanket ban on triple talaq and contested the Centre’s affidavit in the court.
It has, however, called for a social boycott of those who misuse it by repeating “talaq”, the Arabic word for divorce, thrice in one sitting.
It also opposed questionnaire prepared by the Law Commission on Uniform Civil Code.
“We should salute the Muslim women who went to court (against the practice)… this is the best opportunity for India to remove fundamentalism and cruelty (to women),” Kumar said.
Kumar is also the patron of the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, an affiliate of the RSS.
He claimed the board came into existence to politically support the Congress and does not have legal or religious sanction to speak on issues related to the community.
“The board was set up by the Congress, after its (Muslim) vote bank drifted to regional parties. The party propelled Muslims leaders, who were fundamentalists and gave them money to float the board,” Kumar said at a seminar in the national capital.
He went to the extent of asserting that supporting the views of the board on triple talaq would be “a sin and a crime”.
Commenting on the campaign against Triple Talaq, the RSS functionary said a movement has begun in the country to end “fundamentalism” in Islam.
“It cannot be stopped with guns or stones. It has to be changed or it will perish,” he said.
Kumar, who served in Kashmir for long, said fundamentalism in the Valley that wants to divide India needs to be weeded out.
He, however, at the same time tried to reach out to larger Muslim population using the allegory of demon king Ravana, whose siblings despite sharing his lineage were not as evil as him.
He also made references to Rana Pratap who was aided by a Muslim general Hakim Khan Suri and also Capt Abid Hassan, a close aide of Netaji Subas Chandra Bose, to buttress the differences between Indian Muslims and the radicalised groups.
On the issue of Ram Temple, the RSS leader said as per Islam a mosque should not be built on a disputed site or where another religious structure once stood, implying that Muslims should give up the claims on the disputed land.
The RSS leader also took pot shots at Pakistan.
“I have seen its birth chart, its decline will begin when it hits its 70th year and by 2025, it will be over,” Kumar claimed.