Kolkata: The Union Government’s intent to subtly foist Uniform Civil Code (UCC), and tinker with the Shariah (Muslim personal laws) in matters of triple Talaaq (divorce), polygamy etc. remained the main point of focus amongst a host of other issues during the 3-day 25th All India Muslim Personal Board, (AIMPLB), conference which concluded here in Kolkata on Sunday evening marked by a massive public meeting.
The AIMPLB members, special invitees to the conference along with executive committee members all in unison passed a resolution saying Triple Talaaq is sacrosanct as per the Shariah laws which have their origin in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. These Shariah laws are divine laws and cannot be modified, changed or altered by any person or authority under any circumstances.
A six-point “Kolkata Declaration” was released at the conclusion of the 25th AIMPLB conference which was read out by the secretary Maulana Mohammad Fazlurrahim Mujaddadi. The proceedings of the AIMPLB conference were held at Myrah Banquet, Prasad Square 164, AJC Bose Road, Kolkata.
The resolution on Sharia laws said that it is binding as per the Shariat Application Act 1937; Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939; Cutchi Memons Act 1938 and Waqf Act 2013 are applicable on Muslims and Muslim Waqfs. Along with this according to the Articles 25, 26 and 29 of the Constitution of India every citizen of the country belonging to any religion or cultural group has the right to maintain his religious and cultural identity. Thereby, Muslims have the fundamental right to follow their Shariah laws without any inhibition which the court of law of the country also accede. Thus, Muslims cannot agree to any changes in their personal laws as it would be like desecrating the Constitution.
Another resolution said that the Uniform Civil Code cannot be implemented in a country like India inhabited by people of multi-religion, faith and multi-culture. The Muslims and other minorities along with tribals and Adivasis cannot accept UCC at any cost. The country’s hallmark is Unity in Diversity. The resolution pointed out that Govt. of India while trying to bring back many rebellious groups, who had taken up arms against the nation, in the mainstream signed accords with them on the laid down condition that their traditional laws will not be meddled with and will be even above India Parliament’s purview.
Thus, UCC under Article 44 is highly inflammable issue, which divides the nation, creates discomfort among citizens, creates a sense of insecurity among law abiding Muslim citizens and also alienates them from National mainstream. What have been totally forgotten conveniently is, nationally more important Art. 45 (free and compulsory education for all children until 14 years of their age) and Art.47 (total Prohibition in the country). Both these articles are totally disregarded by both the rulers and the public.
Two resolutions on women’s rights
Two other resolutions were about women rights. In one the AIMPLB demanded the government to seriously work for women rights which does not affect the identity of any group. The long winding process of dissolution of marriage through courts which also entails much cost should be time bound and affordable. Similarly, women are not given their share in agriculture properties in some states while Islamic Shariah laws grants them their piece. For this laws of such states should be amended according to Shariah laws to get them relief. Widows and divorced women should be encouraged for re-marriage by providing them incentives as it will solve not only their monetary problems but also grant them family security.
The other resolution said that Waqf boards from their income should be directed to pay maintenance allowance to the divorced and needy Muslim women. If Waqf income is not sufficient then government agencies occupying prime and valuable Waqf properties and Minority Welfare Ministry should back up the deficit.
Meanwhile, during the conference it was also explained that Deen-o-Dastur Bachao movement has yielded good results across the countries and the Adivasis, Dalits, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ambedkarites and other oppressed classes have appreciated the moves by the Board and have extended their cooperation for the protection of the Constitution of India. The Board strongly feels that any interference in the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution to the Minorities, Adivasis, Scheduled Castes, Buddhists, Jains and other religious units will harm the integrity of the country and we as Muslims have the duty to protect the values of our country.
AIMPLB announces formation of Women’s Wing
Taking a historic decision the AIMPLB has decided to form a Women’s Wing under the convenor ship of Dr. Asma Zehra to look into issues such as women issues such as talaaq, family issues, education and other issues. The social reform activities among women will be expanded across India through this wing. It has also been decided to launch an ALL India Muslim Women Helpline, a toll free call centre in Urdu, English and 8 regional languages to counsel and guide Muslim women having family disputes to go to the Darul-Qaza. The women’s participation in the affairs of the Personal Law Board Meeting was extraordinary this time. More than 75 women delegates and 50 women members participated in the meeting and gave their valuable suggestions and proposals.
Later a joint Press conference was held wherein it was informed that during the general session the detailed agenda was discussed at length. The Board explained in detail its position on Shariah Laws relating to marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, etc. The Press conference was addressed by Member of Parliament Sultan Ahmed, chairman, Reception Committee; Zafaryab Jeelini, Secretary, AIMPLB; Kamal Farooqui, Member Executive Committee, AIMPLB and Dr. Asma Zahra, Convener Women’s Wing, AIMPLB.
Zafaryab Jeelini, Secretary, AIMPLB, told newspersons that the point of view of AIMPLB has been explained in detail through the affidavit filed before the Supreme Court in the Triple Talaaq and polygamy case. The moment Board came to know that the central government is going to file the affidavit in the Supreme Court, it approached the PM and five Cabinet Ministers through the registered post to have the point of view of the board which represents all Masaliks (school of thoughts) in the country. Unfortunately, the authorities with their predetermined mind did not think it fit to know the AIMPLB point of view.
He said the Board explained that it is competent to take up issues with the Supreme Court and is hopeful that the constitutional guarantees to all the religious units in the country would not be disturbed.
Replying to a question Jeelani said the Modi government’s decision was intended to gain political dividends ahead of the crucial election in Uttar Pradesh. “Most of the electoral promises made by this government before coming to power have remained unfulfilled and that’s why Modi is raising such topics to divert public attention from the issues at hand. It is a Modi vs. secularism issue,” he said.
Kamal Farooqui explained that the AIMPLB fully respects the constitutional institutions of the country but at the same time the questionnaire designed by the Law Commission not only falls short of the professionalism on such a sensitive issue but smack of the intention of the present day government of meddling with the personal laws and bring in the Uniform Civil Code, through backdoors.
He said the initiative of the Board in not responding to the questionnaire issued by the Law Commission of India has been appreciated by the house. On the other hand crores of responses for the protection of Shariah Laws and having total faith in the leadership of AIMPLB has been encouraging and we hope that the good sense will prevail in the government to withdraw its affidavit from the Supreme Court. The board has now prepared its own questionnaire and circulated it among the Muslims for signatures in support of triple talaaq, he informed.
Farooqui said based on its own assessment through government data, RTI and personal contacts, the board rejects the plea of the so called women activists in misrepresenting to the nation regarding Triple Divorce, polygamy, etc. The Board has been working for years together for social reforms amongst the Muslims, advising them to follow the Shariah properly and use the model Nikahnamah for Nikah which would be beneficial for both men and women.
“Lakhs of Muslim women have supported AIMPLB on its stand on triple Talaaq and the issue is a tool used by the government to interfere in AIMPLB’s affairs. The government is trying to project Muslim women as suppressed and oppressed, which is wrong,” Dr. Asma Zehra, executive member of AIMPLB, said.
Meanwhile, several important proposals for establishing the helplines to handle the family issues, establishment of more Darul Qazas across the country, creating a team of advocates at the High Court levels and continuous interactions with the advocates for advising them about the Islamic Laws, making the entire Board techno-savvy, spreading its arms to every nook and corner of the country, were some of the initiatives taken by the Board.
While, addressing a huge rally in the evening at Park Circus Maidan, TMC cabinet minister Siddiqullah Chowdhury appealed to the secular forces of all states to make their stand against Uniform Civil Code clear. He said West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has already made done that. “We had a core committee meeting at the CM’s residence. She said the Centre had written to her and sought her opinion on Uniform civil Code. She said she told them that her government is against any such code,” he said.
TMC MP Sultan Ahmed, a member of AIMPLB & also Chairman of Reception Committee, said the wave of protest being witnessed in Kolkata would soon spread across the country.
TMC MP Idris Ali slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “hurting Quran in the name of Uniform Civil Code. “We won’t tolerate any sort of attack on our Holy Quran. Are you making fun with Muslims’ sentiments? Withdraw Uniform Civil Code,” Ali demanded.