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Washington, DC/New Delhi – “An archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbin of history! Parliament abolishes Triple Talaq and corrects a historical wrong done to Muslim women. This is a victory of gender justice and will further equality in society. India rejoices today!” is how the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the news as Indian parliament approved a bill that made the Moslem practice of instant divorce through “Talaq, Talaq, Talaq,” a criminal offense.

“Triple Talaq”, as it’s known, allows a husband to divorce his wife by repeating the word “Talaq” (divorce) three times in any form. Some women have gone to courts – contesting the practices as increasing number of Muslim men in India have divorced their wives by issuing the so-called Triple Talaq by letter, telephone and, increasingly, by text message, WhatsApp and Skype.

Although the Indian Supreme Court had declared the practice unconstitutional in 2017, the practice continued unabated. Indian Federal Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in Modi government defended the bill, saying the practice had not stopped despite it being banned. Addressing the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament) where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) doesn’t have a majority, Prasad said, “The judgement has come, but no action on triple talaq has been taken. That is why we have brought this law, because the law is a deterrence.”

India’s governing nationalist, Hindu majority BJP supported the move while there are a number of opponents of the new law.

Asaduddin Owaisi, a Member of Indian Parliament (MP) from the opposition All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party, tweeted: “This law is against Muslim women & marginalizes them even more. The law forces a woman to stay in a marriage with an imprisoned man who’d verbally & emotionally abused her. It puts the burden of proof on Muslim women & forces her into impoverishment.”

Ironically, Triple Talaq divorce has no mention in Sharia Islamic law or the Koran, even though the practice has existed for decades. Interesting to note is the fact that most prominent Islamic countries, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Bangladesh, have banned Triple Talaq, but the custom was dragging along in India, giving Muslim men an advantage to use it at will. (IAT)

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