Triple talaq: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar wants Centre to 'interact' with Muslims instead of 'interfering' in their traditions

JD(U) had refused to vote in favour of a Bill brought by the Centre in Lok Sabha recently seeking to make the practice of instant triple talaq punishable with imprisonment.

Published: 07th January 2019 09:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th January 2019 09:34 PM   |  A+A-

Nitish Kumar

Bihar CM and JD (U) chief Nitish Kumar (File | PTI)

Express News Service

PATNA: In a strong rebuff to ally BJP on the triple talaq issue, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar on Monday said the government should have “interact” with the Muslim community to end the practice instead of “interfering” in their traditions.

“My party’s suggestion on this (triple talaq) issue is that instead of interfering in such matters, there should be interaction. This would make Muslims think over the issue and rectify the tradition if needed,” said Kumar while clarifying JD(U)’s stand.

JD(U) had refused to vote in favour of a Bill brought by the Centre in Lok Sabha recently seeking to make the practice of instant triple talaq punishable with imprisonment. After the bill was passed by voice vote in the Lower House, senior JD(U) leaders embarrassed the government by saying the regional party would stay away from voting on the Bill in Rajya Sabha, where NDA is in minority.

READ: Triple Talaq is a matter of gender equality, Sabarimala is about tradition, says PM Modi

“They (BJP-led NDA government) have started a campaign to address the impacts of triple talaq on a lot of women. But it is a tradition of the people belonging to a particular religion. These people should be encouraged to dispel if there is anything wrong with this tradition,” said Kumar after chairing the year’s first ‘Lok Samvad’ public interaction programme.

The JD(U) chief also reiterated his party’s independent stand on the Ram temple issue, disapproving of any ordinance to ensure construction of the temple in Ayodhya. He firmly denied the Opposition’s charge that he was practising a double standard while continuing to ally with BJP.

“The Ayodhya temple issue should be resolved either through mutual discussions or as per the court’s verdict. The issue is with the court. If anything comes out of it through discussions, it would be good. Or else the court’s verdict should be awaited. It is our stand from the beginning,” said Kumar.

Facing constant attacks from the Opposition parties for ditching RJD and Congress and allying with BJP despite Bihar’s mandate in 2015 being against the saffron party, Kumar asserted he was not practising double standards.

“When those who tore apart a copy of the ordinance were not ready to recognise corruption, it was difficult for me to stay with them. There is no question of me compromising,” he said, referring Congress president Rahul Gandhi and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.

In September 2013, Gandhi had angrily torn apart a copy of the then UPA government’s proposed ordinance aimed at protecting convicted politicians from disqualification from elected office. The UPA government had brought the ordinance just days after Yadav was convicted in a fodder scam case for the first time.

Kumar was referring to silence of Congress when BJP raked up the alleged corrupt dealings of Yadav and his family members in mid-2017, when JD(U) ruled Bihar in alliance with RJD and Congress.  

“There is no double standard. If there is any of it, you (media) have it,” said Kumar in a reply to journalists’ queries, stressing that he has zero-tolerance for “crime, corruption and communalism”.

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