Deputy Leader of the BJP in Odisha Assembly Bishnu Sethi drew strong condemnation in the House on Thursday after he implied that a high proportion of women in India were forced into prostitution because of easy divorce processes like instant triple talaq.
The House was adjourned till 3 pm after Congress MLAs and some BJD MLAs raised objections, despite Speaker S N Patro’s statement that he would examine the remarks.
While speaking in support of the instant triple talaq Bill — to which President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent on Thursday — Sethi said that “Muslim women dominated the red-light areas of Mumbai and Kolkata”. He quoted “survey reports” from magazines and newspapers to justify his claim during Zero Hour even as Congress and BJD members demanded that the statement be expunged.
“What is wrong in quoting survey reports in the House? I have not made any adverse remark against any community, but quoted survey reports that say Muslim women dominate red-light areas in Mumbai and Kolkata,” Sethi was quoted by PTI as saying.
Addressing journalists outside the House, Sethi blamed the Congress. “Some people have been incensed since the day the Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha… I was giving my opinion that instant triple talaq is a medieval practice… A black law like triple talaq should end because not just because of Bills brought by BJP in Parliament, but Supreme Court has also given a judgment on the matter.”
He added, “Some people developed stomach cramps because BJD supported the legislation. I said that Pakistan, Bangladesh and 39 other countries do not have instant triple talaq. There is no explicit reference to it in their holy text. So why should we not stop it… ”
Congress MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati called the remarks an “insult to democracy and Muslim society”.