Attempts to gain electoral advantage by interfering with Muslim personal law: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind

New Delhi: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind organized its monthly press meet for March 2024 at its headquarters. The JIH Vice President, Malik Moatasim Khan addressed the Press Meet. He spoke about the Assam and Uttarakhand governments’ interference in Muslim Personal Law. He said, “Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is highly concerned over the Assam government’s decision to repeal the Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorces Registration Act, of 1935. Currently, the registration process through the 1935 Act for Muslim marriages and divorces in the state is through government-authorized Qazis (Muslim jurists). Muslims in Assam will now have to register their marriages under the Special Marriage Act, of 1954. We feel that not only does this decision go against the spirit of the Constitution, it is a clear proof of the Islamophobic attitude of the state government. Although the Assamese government is claiming that the move is aimed at curbing child marriages, we feel that it is a crude example of vote-bank politics and polarizing people through anti-Muslim measures before the general elections. Experts are pointing out that the decision would result in a lack of regulation and documentation of Muslim marriages. Muslims would feel reluctant to register marriages. With unregistered marriages, women may face threats to marital rights and social protection in case of abandonment or divorce. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind voices its opposition to the introduction of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) by the Uttarakhand government. In replacing the distinct personal laws of every religion, the UCC would introduce a single set of personal laws that would apply to all citizens, regardless of religion. Some of the key proposals of the Uttarakhand UCC include the prohibition of polygamy, triple talaq, uniform age for girls’ marriage across all religions, equal inheritance rights to men and women, and mandatory registration of live-in relationships. JIH feels that although the UCC is mentioned in Article 44 of the Constitution as part of the Directive Principles of State Policy, we should not forget that the framers of our Constitution left it to the discretion of the government (by implication the will of the people) to implement the UCC. No government has the right to implement any decision unilaterally on any religious community without due consultation especially if it involves their religious laws. We feel that the developments in Assam and Uttarakhand are part of a growing trend in India where hate speeches and decisions that hurt the Muslim community are seen by Chief Ministers and politicians of the ruling party as a springboard for gaining political ascendancy. This trend is hurting our democracy and must be opposed by all justice-loving citizens of the country.”

Also addressing the newspersons and dwelling on Farmers’ Demands, JIH Vice President, Prof Salim said, “Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) urges the Government of India to accede to the demand of protesting farmers for MSP. We support their demand for a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) for agricultural produce. All crops must be included under MSP, not just a selected few. MSP must be computed according to the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, which leads to higher MSP. The current price mechanism based on market conditions causes uncertainty and is hurting the farmers. At the same time, the government must address the problems of scarcity of resources, climate-related issues, declining water tables, and socio-economic changes that affect farmers’ financial security. JIH also condemns the high-handedness of the police while dealing with the protesting farmers. We feel sad to hear reports that two farmers were killed due to police firing tear gas shells at the protesting farmers. The use of tear gas is unacceptable against farmers who are exercising their democratic right to protest. We also condemn the latest policy of canceling the passports and visas of protesting farmers. We hope the government will avoid arrogance and rigidity during negotiations and find a long-term solution to the problems of farmers.”

Prof Salim emphasized on the Need for value based politics and said, “Jamaat-e-Islami Hind voices deep concern over the complete collapse of value-based politics in our country. The latest Rajya Sabha elections were marred by blatant cross-voting by MLAs on a large scale. There are reports and allegations that in the RS polls in Himachal Pradesh, MLAs were kidnapped and taken to “safe” places in CRPF vehicles under the supervision of Police from a neighboring state. Political defections are now a common occurrence, undermining the trust placed by the public in their elected officials and lowering ethical standards even further. MLAs are lured and sometimes “purchased” to change their loyalties to another party to bring down governments, as seen in Maharashtra in 2022 and Bihar recently. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind believes that only value-based politics can strengthen this country and take it toward the path of progress and development. It can promote harmony and ensure justice and equality. It can also strengthen the values enshrined in the Constitution of India. We must also try to curb the uncontrolled use of money in elections and for carrying out defections and cross-voting. Money power in politics leads to opportunistic polity and power politics. It means opportunistic leaders without any vision and ideology become ready to adopt whatever policy, whether right or wrong, as long as it helps them remain in power. This opportunism is weakening our democratic values. Hence, the election policy of Jamaat includes telling people that they should elect only those candidates whose character is good, who have a good image in society, and who do not have any criminal or communal background. These values must be encouraged and promoted for establishing a value-based polity. This is all the more critical in the present situation if we wish to preserve our democracy.”

Talking about the Closure of Maulana Azad Education Foundation, Prof Salim Engineer said, “Jamaat-e-Islami Hind expresses its strong resentment over the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) order closing down the Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF). The total availability of funds with MAEF was to the tune of Rs. 1073.26 crore with a liability of Rs 403.55 crore rupees as on November 30, 2023, leaving Rs 669.71 crores available with MAEF. MoMA has now ordered to transfer this surplus to the Consolidated Fund of India. JIH feels that the move is a severe blow to the educational growth of Muslims in India. We feel that due to the systematic neglect of successive governments, the Indian Muslim community has been pushed to the sidelines in terms of economic development and higher education. There is no dearth of official data to support this assertion that Muslims are lagging in most socio-economic indices. The Sachar Committee Report and the Mehmood-Ur-Rehman Committee Report strongly recommended the route of affirmative action (reservation) for the upliftment of the community. If the government continues to close down schemes such as MAEF, it would be doing a positive disservice to minority upliftment, a task it is constitutionally obliged to discharge.”

On the international situation, the JIH VP talked about Gaza. He said, “Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is deeply concerned over the deteriorating situation in Gaza. We are being told that a temporary cease-fire could be reached soon with the release of more hostages. So far an estimated 30,000 Palestinians have been killed and another 70,000 injured including many women and children. Israel’s bombing campaign has destroyed or damaged 70% of Gaza’s 439,000 homes and half of its buildings. Roughly 85% of Gaza’s 2.2 million residents have been displaced. The International Court of Justice has found it “plausible” that Israel has committed “genocidal acts” in Gaza. Most of the hospitals in that area have suffered severe damage or complete destruction. Numerous Palestinians are living in overcrowded makeshift camps, where they face shortages of food, water, and medicine. Families are enduring freezing temperatures without access to proper sanitation facilities or clean water. These appalling circumstances are causing starvation and the rapid spread of diseases. It is critical to allow humanitarian aid to get to Gaza along with the release of some Israeli hostages and Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. JIH demands implementing an immediate and permanent ceasefire in the region. At the same time, Israeli actions should not go unpunished and its political and military leadership must be prosecuted by the UN and the international community for the various war crimes they have committed in Gaza. The Government of India can play an important part in bringing peace to the region.”

Regarding the Protection of Muslim places of worship, Assistant National Secretary Inamur Rehman said, “Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) expresses concern over the safety and protection of Muslim places of worship in our country. In many instances, sites where historical Masjids are situated are claimed by members belonging to another community saying there existed a religious strucure belonging to their community. There have been instances where the District Administration, the State government and sometimes even the judiciary had played a one-sided role and allowed unauthorized activities within the premises of the mosques. A section of the media is also playing a biased role and supporting superflous claims over the land of these mosques. Historical mosques are being demolished and targeted under the guise of causing traffic problems or being unauthorized structures. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind emphasizes the need to abide by the “Places of Worship Act 1991.” The Act provides a guarantee for the preservation of the religious character of places of public worship as they existed on August 15, 1947. The Government of India must come out emphatically in support of the Act and declare that they would adhere to it in letter and spirit. The courts must become the vanguard of this Act. Staking claim to the places of worship belonging to other religious communities based on “aastha” or the alleged presence of another pre-existing religious structure will open Pandora’s box of claims and counter-claims. It will lead to chaos and anarchy. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind appeals to the people of India to stop these attempts to reverse history and defeat those raking up of emotional issues for doing vote-bank politics.”

JIH National Secretary for Women, Mrs Rahmathunnisa spoke about Worrying Custodial rape numbers. She said, “Jamaat-e-Islami Hind voices concern over the custodial rape numbers as revealed in the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data. According to NCRB data from 2017 to 2022, there have been over 270 reported cases of rape in custody. These incidents involve perpetrators from various backgrounds, including police personnel, public servants, members of the armed forces, as well as staff from jails, remand homes, places of custody, and hospitals. It is quite disgraceful that so many individuals in positions of authority have been caught taking undue advantage of their power to commit rape against a woman. The alarming prevalence of custodial rape points out the urgent need for a victim-centric approach, strengthened legal frameworks, and institutional reforms to address the root causes and consequences effectively. Custodial settings should be places of safety and protection, not arenas for abuse and violence. The skewed social norms, inadequate gender-sensitivity training for law enforcement, and the societal stigma surrounding victims – all contribute to this pitiable situation. The government must take immediate action to address these issues comprehensively. Legal reform, enhanced training for law enforcement to ensure social and behavioral change, and robust mechanisms for accountability are required. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind believes that a holistic approach is necessary to tackle the root causes and consequences of custodial rape. Unless the values of “fear of God” and “accountability” in the Hereafter are inculcated in people, the sexual exploitation of women will continue to fester humanity. We should not ignore the moral training and character-building of society. This has to begin at an early age. Moral education in schools and training institutes must be part of the curriculum. While it is important to have stringent laws, speedy trials, and exemplary punishment for rapists, the question of moral reform of society is equally important.”


Spread the love

You May Also Like…