Subjects like the practise of triple talaq, implementation of the uniform civil code and construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, will not be used by the Bharatiya Janata Party for political gains ahead of the state Assembly elections, said Union minister Venkaiah Naidu. He also emphasised that a broad consensus will be required before the uniform civil code is brought into effect, refuting allegations that focus on triple talaq was part of efforts seeking a backdoor entry for the proposal, PTI reported.
"You cannot have a uniform civil code without a broad consensus. You have to work and move in that direction...The government does not consider it [triple talaq] a religious matter. It is a question of gender sensitivity. It is wrong to say that we are interfering in Muslim issues," the minister of information and broadcasting said. Naidu added that such sensitive matters should not be linked with elections.
He gave the example of the ban on the practice of Sati – a Hindu funeral custom where a widow immolates herself on her husband's pyre, or commits suicide in another was after her husband's death – to indicate that the government was fighting for "gender sensitivity". "When a discriminatory practice is doing injustice to women, we think it should end," Naidu said.
The Union minister had earlier urged the All India Muslim Personal Law Board to not politicise the triple talaq debate after it decided to boycott the questionnaire released by the Law Commission to seek public opinion on religious practices. The board had argued that the Uniform Civil Code was unconstitutional, and had accused the government of creating discord between communities.
His remarks come days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked that the debate on triple talaq not be politicised or turned into a communal issue. Modi's comments on the issue came as the Supreme Court examines the validity of the practise. The had asked the government to respond to a batch of petitions on the rights of Muslim women that challenged triple talaq.