Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday disapproved of the stance adopted by the Narendra Modi government on triple talaq, saying interaction, and not interference, was the way forward on the contentious issue.
Kumar said the practice of instant divorce had come under scanner after a Muslim woman came out in protest, but pointed out many other women from the community had signed memorandums against the ordinance brought a few months ago making instant triple talaq a penal offence as people take offence when they feel something is being imposed on them.
The related bill is pending in Parliament.
“This has always been the stand of our party and this is my suggestion with regard to how we should approach the sensitive matter,” the chief minister, who is also the national president of JD(U) and is running his government in alliance with the BJP, told reporters.
Kumar was replying to queries on the sidelines of Lok Samvad, a public interaction programme, which used to be held on the first three Mondays of every month but had remained suspended for close to five months.
“Triple talaq has been a tradition in a particular community. Of course, women have been adversely affected and hence a need was felt to do something about it. But if there is a defect in the system those part of it should be helped and encouraged to get rid of the same,” Kumar said.
People take offence when they feel something is being imposed on them and not enforced with their consent. Many women have also signed memorandums against the ordinance/bill on triple talaq, he said.
The JD(U) had vehemently opposed the ordinance on triple talaq brought by the Modi government after the Supreme Court declared the practice of instant triple talaq as ultra vires of the Constitution.
When a bill, introducing a provision for making adherence to the practice punishable with imprisonment, was brought in Lok Sabha recently, the JD(U) refused to vote in favour. Although the bill got passed by voice vote, the JD(U)’s divergent stance may cause a major hurdle in Rajya Sabha, where the NDA lacks majority.
Asked about the Ram temple issue, Kumar said, “Our party’s stand has always been clear. It should be decided by the court of law. However, if some solution is arrived at by negotiations between the affected communities we would welcome that as well.”
Hardliners within the BJP as also the larger Sangh Parivar have been pressing for bringing an ordinance that may facilitate the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it clear that there would be no ordinance till the Supreme Court comes out with its verdict on the vexed issue.
Kumar also dismissed allegations by the opposition that sharing power with the BJP has led him to go soft on the Hindutva brigade in the state, saying in the past 13 years, there has been only one instance of curfew being imposed to maintain law and order. Compare that with what happened in the past, he said.
He also complained that the term “mob lynching” is being used to describe even incidents of a suspected burglar being beaten to death.
Last week, a 55-year-old man had been beaten to death in Araria district by a mob which suspected him of cattle theft. The state has witnessed many such incidents in the past few months.