Basti (UP): Amidst a raging debate on triple talaq, the UP cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya has triggered another controversy after he asserted that Muslims use triple talaq to change wives and satisfy their "lust".
Maurya also added triple talaq has no basis. "BJP stands with Muslim women who have been given talaq unreasonably and arbitrarily," Maurya, who was in Basti to participate in a function at the house of a local BJP leader, told media late on Saturday night.
"These talaqs have no basis.... if someone only for satisfying his lust keeps changing his wives and forces his own wife and children on the streets to beg... no one will call this as right," PTI quoted the minister as saying.
Maurya said BJP stands with such victims to help them get respect. The minister's remarks came at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged everybody not to the issue of triple talaq through a political prism.
Reacting to Maurya's comments, senior member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangimahli demanded an unconditional apology from the minister.
The AIMPLB has opposed any move to ban triple talaq, saying Muslims have the "constitutional" right to follow their personal law and it will not accept any interference in it.
President of All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB) Shaista Amber, who has been actively involved in the campaign against triple talaq, termed the minister's statement as "shameful".
"He (Maurya) should be sent to a mental asylum, as he has shattered the honour of the Muslims specially women," Amber said .
"We will also demand that our Chief Minister take action against such a minister who has insulted all women... Human Rights Commission also needs to take note of it," she added.
The Centre has opposed the triple talaq practice in the Supreme Court citing the principles of gender justice and secularism enshrined in the Constitution.
Activists allege that the practice under which a Muslim man can give instant divorce to his wife by uttering the word 'talaq' thrice in one go has left lakhs of women destitute.
Seeking equal rights for Muslim women, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said he believes that the reformers from the community will protect women from ill-effects of triple talaq.
"I am sure that reformers from the Muslim community will come forward and put an end to triple talaq," the PM said while speaking on the occasion of Basava Jayanti at Vigyan Bhawan in the city.
Meanwhile Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan said: "The PM should also focus on the other problems faced by women in the Muslim community. They are losing their husbands and son due to violence created by gau rakshaks."
(With inputs from PTI)