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Cong sees talaq 'revenge' by BJP

 Ghulam Nabi Azad discussing the triple talaq legislation in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Youtube. 

New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday came upfront to accuse the RSS-BJP of using the instant triple talaq legislation as a political ploy to "take revenge" on Muslims.

The Congress fiercely fought in the Rajya Sabha to send the bill criminalising instant triple talaq to a select committee for the removal of what it termed glaring anomalies.

The party had initially been wary of opposing the instant triple talaq bill so as not to give the BJP the chance to accuse it of being anti-Muslim.

Former Union minister Veerappa Moily told a news conference: "Marriage is a civil contract. The provision for criminalisation of instant triple talaq is not acceptable. They are doing it with a sadistic approach. They want to take revenge on a particular community."

Moily contested the perception that the party's stand on the bill in the Lok Sabha was different from that in the Rajya Sabha. "We opposed the criminality provision in the Lok Sabha (too)."

The Congress anyway couldn't have blocked the bill in the Lok Sabha, where the BJP has a brute majority.

The leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said the Congress was opposed to the practice of instant triple talaq and supported the Supreme Court verdict that struck it down.

"The bill does injustice to Muslim women. The government is misleading Muslim women and the nation through a massive false propaganda," he alleged.

The Congress has been criticising the government for violating the parliamentary tradition of sending all major bills for scrutiny by standing committees.

"The BJP government has little faith in parliamentary democracy and consultative processes. They just want to bulldoze their views. The instant triple talaq is already gone and now the government's role is only to facilitate alimony to the affected women. But who will provide alimony if the husband is sent to jail?" Azad said.

Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad met Azad on Wednesday in an effort to resolve the deadlock but couldn't offer a solution to the alimony question.

Azad said: "The husband will be in jail and there is no provision for assistance from the government. The law minister refused to give a paisa from the government side. So this bill solves the BJP's political purpose but offers no justice to the divorced women. This will destroy families."

The Congress expressed outrage at the government's "duplicity" as it passed the bill in the Lok Sabha using its numerical supremacy but refused to accept the majority principle in the Rajya Sabha.

"Whether the bill will go to a parliamentary committee or not is decided by the Rajya Sabha chairman on the basis of the sense of the House. While two parties wanted the bill to be passed, 17 asked for (it to be sent to a) select committee.... In democracy, how do you decide except by a headcount?" Azad asked.

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