Hyderabad, Jun 3: Amid a debate over triple talaq, State Minorities Commission chairman Abid Rasool Khan today said the practice has been "misused" to discriminate against women and harass them as he then appealed to 'Ulemas' to initiate reforms to protect rights of women.
He also favoured a debate on the uniform civil code, focussing not only on the religious practices in Islam but across all religions, including child marriages and 'Sati among Hindus.
The Commission serves the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Khan said the Commission has received about 30-40 complaints in the last three years pertaining to desertions after marriage.
The complaints include desertions without giving "talaq" or "khulla" thus leaving the women to fend for themselves, not maintaining them or taking care of children, and harassing women when they go out for a job or try to earn their own livelihood.
In some cases, triple talaq has been pronounced, and then the women have been left without any maintenance or any sort of support, he said.
"Earlier, we had held discussions with all stake-holders, including Ulemas (the body of Mullahs -Muslim scholars trained in Islam and Islamic law) and we were told that the matter is being dealt with by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and shortly some decisions would be coming. But that has not come.
"My opinion is that definitely there is discrimination against women by misuse of this provision under the Islamic act," he told PTI here.
Khan said that as per Quran, "triple talaq" cannot be pronounced until and unless there is "mediation" and "time gap" (there is a process of dialogue, reconciliation and mediation) before the divorce takes place.
"But subsequently it was amended or it was reformed in such a way (oral/unilateral divorce) that at that time the social requirements were met. But those reforms are today being utilised for harassing women", Khan said.
He said in this context the Ulemas have to "open up" their "minds". "So, I think Ulemas also have to open up their minds, talk about this with stake-holders, try to speak to all the commissions and governments...how many women are being persecuted like this, and then reform the laws in such a way that it will also not hinder the Islamic Act as well as give due protection to women because the fact remains that Islam definitely provides equality to and protection for women.
"Only by this issue (triple talaq), the whole tenets of Islam should not be questioned", he added.