By Abdul Bari Masoud,
New Delhi: Resentment is growing against Muslim members of Parliament in the community who were absent from the House when the controversial Muslim Women (Protection of Marriage) Bill, 2017” was being put for vote in the Lower House (Lok Sabha) last week. While lauding All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MP Asaduddin Owaisi, community members have slammed Muslim MPs particularly two “Maulana” MPs for remaining silent on the bill and not taking part in the voting.
Referring Maulana Mohammad Asrarul Haque Qasmi and All India United Democratic Front leader Maulana Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi, they said despite being the ardent follower of the Hanafi jurisprudence, both the members had let down the community. Talking to Muslim Mirror, Dr Sultan Ahmad said under pretext of protecting Muslim women’s rights, this government infringed upon the fundamental rights of the Muslim community enshrined in the Constitution and Muslim MPs were supposed to raise the concerns of the community but they failed to them on this very crucial matter which would have far-reaching impacts.
Another Muslim intellectual S Akhtar said ‘even they did not show the token opposition to the bill by their silence and preferred to be absent from the debate in the House’.
Hyderabad MP Owaisi had moved two amendments in the proposed bill and one by Biju Janata Dal’s Bhartruhari Mahtab but all have been negated in the House.
Owaisi had sought the division of vote to know the fate of his amendments. For the first amendment seeking to decriminalize the act of instant talaq, he got only one vote. Obviously, the lone vote was Owaisi’s himself. The second amendment he had sought for removing the Muslim term from the bill, but it also got only four votes while there are as many as 23 Muslim members in the present Lok Sabha.
Owaisi’s demand for division of vote may be to expose the Congress’ “hypocrisy” and its leaning towards “soft Hindutva” which had supported the bill without questioning the intent of the Modi government.
Besides Maulana Asrarul Haq Qasmi, All India United Democratic Front leader Maulana Badaruddin Ajmal and another MP of his party and his younger brother Sirajuddin Ajmal were also mysteriously remained absent from the House during the debate on Triple Talaq Bill.
A senior journalist, who covers parliament proceedings, said that Maulana Asrarul Haq’s voice was gagged by his party but what had compelled Maulana Ajmal and his brother to remain absent from the house and didn’t utter a single word on this “arbitrary act” of the government.
Ajmal and his brother both were elected from Muslim-dominated seats in Assam and their party claims to be a protector of Muslim interest.
He said Ajmal would have opposed the bill on the floor of House as he is not not answerable to any leader except to his own people.
It is unfortunate that out of 23 Muslim MPs, six were elected on the Muslim-led parties. National Conference leader Dr. Farooq Abdullah also did not utter a word on the bill. Owaisi was the lone ranger in the House.
During the time of voting on Owaisi’s amendments, no Muslim member from even Muslim League were present. For this, AIMIM chief, who termed the bill as a violation of fundamental rights of Muslims, criticized Maulana Asarul Haq Qasmi.
Owaisi said in his blog, ‘May be Hazrat Maulana didn’t know that the debate lasted for 3 hours but was “stuck in traffic of janedharu” politics’, referring a claim by Congress that its president Rahul Gandhi is a janeu-dhari Hindu.
In his defence, Maulana Qasmi said that he was not allowed by the party leadership to speak against the Bill in the Parliament despite his insistence.
He further said the Bill was against the Constitution, the ‘Shariat’ and women rights. He wanted to vote against it but couldn’t reach the Parliament on time due to the traffic jam.
However, Maulana Ajmal did not bother to issue any clarification regarding his absence from the House. His silence is more puzzling as he himself is the boss of his political outfit which has three members in Lok Sabha.
The community is also in the shock that even the Modi government did not bother to consult the real stakeholders on this matter and presented the bill in a very undemocratic and arbitrary manner in the Lok Sabha. The Community has strong feeling that “the bill is nothing to do with the interest of Muslim women but to teach a lesson to the community and to show its “majoritarian streak”. If this government were really well-wisher of Muslim women, it would have done justice to rape survivors of Gujarat, Muzaffarnagar and other communal violence incidents, Dr. Ahmad said.
Even it did not consult the so-called Muslim women organizations which were dancing in its tune.
After opposing the minority character of the Aligarh Muslim University, and Jamia Millia Islamia in the court, and growing mob-lynching incidents, this government has already shown its true colour, he added.
If the bill becomes a law, which is now in the Rajya Sabha, will make Triple Talaq a criminal offense. It proposes a three-year jail term for a Muslim man who divorces his wife in any form of spoken, written or by electronic means such as email.
Courtesy: Muslim Mirror