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Mehbooba Mufti warns Centre against interfering in Muslims' religious affairs

twitter-logoPTI | December 31, 2018 | Updated 22:13 IST

Srinagar, Dec 31 (PTI) Terming the triple talaq bill as an "assault" on Muslim families, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday asked the Centre to desist from interfering in the religious affairs of the community. Her comments came on the day when the contentious Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, which seeks to criminalise the practice of instant divorce among the community, was tabled in the Rajya Sabha. However, the Upper House of Parliament failed to initiate a discussion on the bill, with a united opposition led by the Congress demanding that the draft law be sent to a select committee for scrutiny. "As a Muslim and a woman who has gone through a broken marriage, I thought it is my duty to speak when there is an assault on the family structure of Muslims," Mufti told reporters here. She said Muslims take pride in their family structure which is very strong and accused the Centre of trying to disturb the community through the bill. "Our family structure is very strong. But unfortunately, after the economic onslaught on Muslims through curbs on meat and leather, now they (Centre) have entered our homes through the triple talaq bill, which would not only disturb our family life, but also put our women into economic distress," the People's Democratic Party (PDP) president said. Mufti said while deserting a woman was very wrong, marriage is a contract between two people. "If two people do not want to live together, they can live apart through consensus. The biggest challenge that a woman faces after her marriage breaks is economic," she said. She alleged that while the BJP rejected reservation for Muslims in education and jobs, it chose to go ahead with a law like this, which is also based on religious lines. "The Supreme Court has already ruled (that) it (practice of triple talaq) (is) invalid and Islam also rejects it, but despite that they went ahead with it (triple talaq bill)," she added. The PDP chief called for a consensus over the issue. "Democracy is not run through brute majority, it is about consensus. BJP claims (its motto is) 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas', but by bringing such a bill, which would create division in Muslim families, they are doing everything wrong," Mufti said. She said Jammu and Kashmir, despite being a Muslim-majority state, had aligned with Mahatma Gandhi's secular India. "However, by acts like changing names of cities or islands, distorting history and banning beef and leather, and now this onslaught, I want to tell the Centre that you are not doing any service either to India or the Hindus. We do not want to create Zia-ul-Haq's Pakistan in Gandhi's India," she said, referring to the Pakistani dictator and former president. Mufti warned that there would be "consequences in the future" if the Centre did not stop interfering in the religious affairs of Muslims. "What message are you giving to 25 crore Muslims in the country. I do not think this is the legacy of Vajpayee whose statue they (BJP) want to build," she said. PTI SSB DIV DIV

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