Jaitley attacks Congress over opposition to punishment in triple talaq bill

New Delhi, Jan 3 : Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday attacked the Congress and some other opposition parties for opposing criminalisation of instant triple talaq, saying they had not raised objections when punishment was provided in laws relating to marriages of Hindus, Sikhs and Christians.

Sources said Jaitley, speaking at the BJP parliamentary party meeting on triple talaq bill, accused Congress of double standards.

Meanwhile, Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told the meeting that there is “disinformation campaign” against the Narendra Modi government by opposition including Congress on its initiatives concerning Muslims as they saw it as a threat to their “vote bank” politics.

Jaitley, in his remarks, said Left members and activists had opposed suggestions to make offences under domestic violence Act “bailable” but were now against punishment in the triple talaq bill.

Sources said Jaitley told the meeting that when laws pertaining to marriages of Hindus, Sikhs and Christians were framed, there was no opposition to provisions of punishment but suddenly it was being opposed in the bill pertaining to Muslims.

He accused Congress of coming under pressure of Left and other parties in the Rajya Sabha after supporting the bill in Lok Sabha.

“They (the opposition) do not want a debate and are finding issues to stall the house,” he said.

Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah were present at the meeting.

Naqvi, in his remarks, said that the Haj quota of Indians had gone down by about 25,000 during the rule of Congress-led UPA but had increased by about 36,000 during the BJP-led government.

The agreement for increase in Haj quota was signed in January last year. Naqvi said that visit of Prime Minister Modi to Saudi Arabia in 2016 had added new dimensions to the relationship between the two countries.

Naqvi also referred to the government’s move to allow Muslim women to perform Haj without male guardian.

The BJP had issued a whip to its members to ensure their presence during discussion on the bill concerning constitutional status to the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC) and also the triple talaq bill.

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot briefed MPs on the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017 which seeks to grant constitutional status to the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC).

The Rajya Sabha had made some amendments to the NCBC bill after it was passed by the Lok Sabha. The government is now seeking to delete these amendments.