The AIMPLB's opposition to banning instant divorce mainly stems from its staunch resistance to any government involvement in Muslim affairs, which it says is needed to preserve the community's distinct identity in Indian society.

The organisation feels triple talaq has acquired focus because the Modi administration wants to interfere in their religious affairs with the aim of introducing a uniform civil code in India.

Some liberal groups also find the legislation discriminatory. "Why should only Muslim men get punished for abandoning their wives; why not Hindu men also?" asked Kavita Krishnan of the All India Progressive Women's Association. "This cannot be a criminal offence," said Shabanam Hashmi, a feminist activist.

Opposition parties are planning to request the president not approve the bill.

A "sigh of relief"

But many Muslim organisations also hailed the decision. The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), a women's rights organisation that spearheaded the abolition of triple talaq, said the ban was "long overdue".

"We have been fighting against the subjugation of women in the name of religion. This law will provide relief to thousands of women. It is historic," explained Zakia Soman of the BMMA.

Sofia Khartum, another Muslim women activist, explained that finally the fear of instant divorce is no more. "We can now breathe a sigh of relief. I know thousands of women who have suffered due to the practice of instant divorce," she said.

Women's rights groups and activists say that Muslim organisations should not bring religion into the instant divorce debate as it is a human rights issue. "There is no place for triple talaq either in any civilised society or even in Islam. But in India, the people who claim to be the torch bearers of Islam have been forcing this down. They have kind of validated this triple talaq," commented Shabnam Hashmi, the founder of ANHAD, an organisation that fought to have the practice abolished.

"Issues of identity and economic survival have put the basic rights of women on the backburner. Definitely there is politics and there are patriarchal vested interests in continuing instant triple talaq," confirmed Maimoona Mollah of the All Indian Democratic Women Association.

Activists fear that even after the parliament's decision to outlaw the custom, domestic abuse will not end in India. They argue that it's necessary for the government to strictly enforce measures to improve literacy levels among Muslim women and raise awareness of the laws put in place for their empowerment.

Murali Krishnan

© Deutsche Welle 2019

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Comments for this article: Triple talaq ban divides Muslims

I wonder why the writer has not mentioned that the practice of triple talaq is not Islamic and how talaq happens in Islam. The only brief mention of this is through someone else's voice. One more paragraph wouldn't have done any harm, especially in highlighting such a crucial difference between customs and text.
Furthermore, there is no mention at all of why the custom has persisted for centuries.

Nadeem09.08.2019 | 11:40 Uhr