The Urdu Press: Debating talaqhttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/the-urdu-press-debating-talaq-unnao-rape-sheila-dikshit-5870695/

The Urdu Press: Debating talaq

Rozanama Rashtriya Sahara on July 26 compared the 1980s to now, when the “then Congress government led by Rajiv Gandhi had tried to interfere in Muslim personal law”

An untenable defence
Siasat on July 27 in an editorial after the passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha calls the opposition parties and other parties who oppose the Bill to ensure that it not passed by the Rajya Sabha. (Representational Image)

Inquilab has back to back editorials on triple talaq, on July 31 and then on August 1. The August 1 editorial writes about the “irony” of one side being so concerned about the Unnao rape incident and the accident, which has the victim “fighting for her life, and most of her family killed, where the accused is a powerful MLA and on the other hand, instant triple talaq, with the government so concerned, as if there were no bigger problem than this one, at present”. The newspaper writes: “There is no doubt that this is a bad practice, but the haste displayed while making a law against this has never been seen in any other problem.” This, the newspaper goes on to say, is when “Muslim organisations had declared that they will through social reform oppose this”.

Rozanama Rashtriya Sahara on July 26 compared the 1980s to now, when the “then Congress government led by Rajiv Gandhi had tried to interfere in Muslim personal law”. But widespread protests forced the government’s hand to reverse its stance. Now, the people appear “unable to do anything, laachaar”. It urges a look at facts, speaking of “back-breaking inflation, unemployment, sharply rising inequality that affect not just Muslim women but all women, including Muslim women”.”When her son or husband is unemployed, can the Muslim woman be happy?” the editorial wonders.

Siasat on July 27 in an editorial after the passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha calls the opposition parties and other parties who oppose the Bill to ensure that it not passed by the Rajya Sabha. Siasat writes: “The government will try many moves. And the Opposition must be alert. Those who are scared of opposing the Modi government must also make their stand clear.” It writes: “Muslims are watching and will use this as a test to examine their so-called commitment to Muslims, their welfare and secularism. The time for empty words will have to end.”

Etemaad (mouthpiece of the AIMIM) writes about the government pushing all the Bills it needs to consolidate its votebank in Parliament. It writes the government that has ignored the Sabarimala and Aadhaar orders of the Supreme Court, has chosen to bring out a bill for triple talaq instead of a law to control mob lynching. When such laws were brought against the majority community, for example in the Sabarimala case, it is stopped by an agitation. But Muslims have been scared beforehand itself, so they do not oppose such laws. While NIA is now a law stronger than POTA, it is clear that Muslims are the only targets. Why are steps not being taken to curb Hindu extremism? The newspaper calls for Muslims to “use their democratic rights to express their anger against the triple talaq bill, while staying within the law.”

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Law as harassment

Munsif on July 27 speaks of laws being hustled in an unseemly rush intehaai jaldbaazi. It takes special note of the RTI Bill, which, according to the newspaper, makes Information Commissioners almost “government servants” and quashes their autonomy and independence. The newspaper speculates if the Modi government is wreaking vengeance on RTI commissioners for the five big orders they gave which brought out the truth on the government. It terms the original bill a fine legislation of the UPA2 era, now being crushed.

The July 28 editorial of Daawat, the fortnightly newspaper of the Jamaat-e-Islami, focuses on the “anti-terror” law. It focuses on the “misuse of such laws”. “Terror does not end with these laws as the intention is not to end terror. The intention is only to create new means of harassment against people which they take years to get out of,” the editorial says. The newspaper writes that “earlier too, the intention was to harass innocents and push them in jail and this is what has happened. So, whenever attempts are made to formulate ‘tough laws’ they are opposed”.

Tragedy in Unnao

Various editorials have taken note of the accident that wiped out several members of the Unnao rape victim’s family. Etemaad on July 30 writes about the BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj meeting the accused, a BJP MLA, in jail recently. It asks for phone records of the truck driver, cleaner and owner scrutinised. Sahara on August 1 wonders, sardonically, why when “the Opposition is angry and brought up this crash in Parliament and the BJP claims to have suspended Kuldip Singh Sengar, the accused BJP MLA, is justice not forthcoming?” It calls for a CBI inquiry to be speedily ordered.

Mourning Sheila

Sahara editorial on July 22 talks about the tradition of leaders praising their opponents when they die. The editorial says it is commendable that BJP leaders praised Sheila Dikshit when she died. But why did they not do so in her lifetime? The editorial points out that if it happens, “political rivalry can never morph into personal enmity”. The environment that will emerge in India then will be very positive, the editorial concludes.

Compiled by Seema Chishti