All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi has urged Muslims in the country to follow the example of pro-jallikattu protestors in Tamil Nadu to support the Islamic practice of triple talaq. “In Tamil Nadu, people protested in lakhs to fight for their tradition. Narendra] Modi had to bow in front of them. We [Indian Muslims] also have our own culture. We will marry and divorce the way we want to. Nobody should direct us about what we should do,” Owaisi told India Today.
On January 20, the political leader had said the agitations in Tamil Nadu were a “lesson for Hindutva forces”. They showed that the “Uniform Civil Code cannot be imposed in this nation. We cannot have one culture, we celebrate all,” Owaisi had said on Twitter.
While the Supreme Court has been studying the constitutional validity of triple talaq, the Allahabad High Court had ruled in December 2016 that the practice was “cruel and demeaning”. On October 7, 2016, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that the “validity of triple talaq and polygamy should be seen in light of gender justice”, and that triple talaq, polygamy and nikaah halala “were not integral to the practices of Islam or essential religious practices”.
Several Muslim bodies, including the Jamaat-e-Islamic Hind, had criticised the Centre’s stand, calling it a violation of citizens’ right to freedom of religion. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has defended the practice, arguing that the rights bestowed by religion can not be questioned in a court of law. There have also been calls to not politicise or communalise the debate on triple talaq and to view it as a separate matter from the proposed Uniform Civil Code.