More than two weeks after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Indian government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court against the practice of triple talaq, that allows Muslim men to divorce their wives with the utterance of word 'talaq' (divorce), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the government could not allow lives of Muslim women to be destroyed.
"It is the responsibility of the government, and the people of the country, to give justice to Muslim women under the (India) Constitution," Indian daily DNA quoted him as saying. Modi was addressing a rally in Mahoba, a district in the impoverished Bundelkhand region of northern Uttar Pradesh state.
"The debate should be between Muslims who want reforms and those who do not want reforms."
Modi also requested the people not to politicise the issue. "I request (the) people who participate in TV debates not to make women rights into Muslim-Hindu issue. Women's right is a development issue. Let’s take proper measures to give equal rights to women as well."
Earlier in its affidavit filed on October 7, India's ministry of law and justice had referred to the constitutional principles such as gender equality, secularism, international covenants, religious practices and marital law prevalent in various Islamic countries to drive home the point that the practice of triple talaq and polygamy needed to be adjudicated upon afresh by the apex court.
The law panel's move was significant as the Supreme Court had recently said it would prefer a wider debate, in public as well as in court, before taking a decision on the constitutional validity of 'triple talaq', which many complain is abused by Muslim men to arbitrarily divorce their wives.