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Triple talaq bill won’t protect Muslim women: Mamata Banerjee

The issue has been a rather tricky one for West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress party since it is solidly backed by the Muslims, who constitute 27.01% of the 91.3 million population (2011 census).

kolkata Updated: Jan 03, 2018 16:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Triple talaq bill,Mamata Banerjee,Muslim women
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.(Arun Sharma/HT File Photo)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday criticised the bill that criminalises instant triple talaq, claiming that the impending legislation is not designed to protect Muslim women and will merely ‘poke’ the community.

“The bill that the Union government is trying to push through is not meant to protect the womenfolk. Rather, it will cause unnecessary trouble. The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is indulging in politics with it,” Banerjee said at a public meeting in Birbhum district.

The issue has been a rather tricky one for West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress party since it is solidly backed by the Muslims, who constitute 27.01% of the 91.3 million population (2011 census). Banerjee has faced frequent criticisms from political opponents that she has appeased the Muslims to consolidate her party’s vote bank.

Banerjee was speaking for the first times since August 22, 2017, when the Supreme Court described the practice of triple talaq as unconstitutional with three of the five judges in the panel ruling against it.

Moreover, Trinamool Congress’ legislators did not participate in the discussion in the Lok Sabha where the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill was introduced and passed on December 28.

Banerjee also lashed out at the BJP and alleged that since the party formed the government in Assam, the names of Bengalis living in the northeastern state for years are being struck off the roles.

“One has already committed suicide. I shall embrace people from Assam, but they should also not hound us,” Banerjee said.

Leaders from the state unit of the saffron party reacted sharply to her comments.

“Her party adopts one role in Lok Sabha and another in public. This is politics of opportunism. It also proves that the woman chief minister does not feel the pain of Muslim women,” BJP’s national secretary and former Bengal president Rahul Sinha said.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) politburo member and Lok Sabha MP Md Salim also accused her of “playing to the gallery”.

“The party leaders remained silent where they needed to speak (in the Lok Sabha). And now she is playing to the gallery. The BJP has a single point agenda that is Hindutva. But Mamata Banerjee has a multi-point agenda where she is playing with fire,” Salim said.

The CPI-M said the bill is unwarranted and politically motivated while taking part in the discussion in the Lok Sabha.

Ishrat Jahan, who was one of the petitioners against triple talaq in the Supreme Court, has shown interest in joining the BJP. The 31-year-old mother of two lives in Howrah.

First Published: Jan 03, 2018 16:24 IST