New Delhi: Amidst the increasing demands to bring in reforms in the Muslim personal law, senior CPI-M leader and MP Brinda Karat on Friday accused the RSS and BJP, and also the Muslim Personal Law Board of using the issues like triple talaq and women's rights to equality to further their own sectarian agendas.
Recalling how Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists had ganged up togther when similiar demands to bring in the needed reforms in Hindu traditions and laws were raised after independence, Karat said RSS and its ideologically affiliated leaders were at that time not ready even for limited reforms. Worse, they were supported by some Muslim leaders, she said.
"They were in the company of many top-ranking leaders of the Congress including then President of India Rajendra Prasad and then Minister for Home Affairs, Shri Vallabhbhai Patel and others.
"They were also in the company of Muslim fundamentalists, some of whom, like Naziruddin Ahmed, took the lead in strongly opposing the Bill, proving once again the truth that whether Hindu or Muslim, fundamentalists and their retrograde views have everything in common, are two sides of the same coin", Karat said in an article written on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar and published by NDTV on Friday.
"The friends of yore, the Hindu and the Muslim fundamentalists who were united on the same side in their opposition to the Hindu law reform, are arraigned on opposite sides today.
"However, what remains unchanged and in fact similar to both sides, is that their positions for or against instant Triple Talaq are determined not out of concern for women's rights to equality, but by their own sectarian agendas", she said.
"In the case of the RSS and company, it sees this as a step forward to the scrapping of Muslim Personal law altogether. As far as the Muslim fundamentalists are concerned, it is a case of protecting the most retrograde patriarchal practices in the name of religion", Karat said.
Karat in her article also slammed other political parties for keeping silence on the ongoing debate and not supporting the Muslim women out of their own political interests.
"Shamefully, other political parties have refused to take a firm position in support of Muslim women's demand for an end to this abhorrent practice, thus lending strength to the narrow agendas of both the RSS camp and that of the Muslim fundamentalists", Karat said.
Criticising Mamata Bannerji for supporting the Muslim panle, Karat said, "A party like the Trinamool Congress has backed fundamentalists in the community, with their Muslim MPs taking the lead in slogans such as religion being in danger because of the proposed reform.
"The highly objectionable statements of the Muslim Personal Law Board, which are an affront to democratic rights of women, are taken to be representative of the community as a whole by these parties. In fact, many other Muslim institutions have condemned this practice but these opinions are ignored."
"Such positions make women's rights hostage to political opportunism and affect women of all communities", Karat said.
Further exposing the BJP and RSS for their double standard on women's rights, Karat said, "The main narrative of the BJP-led central government is that Muslim women have been discriminated against because they have not had the benefit of reforms, whereas Hindu women have had this advantage. It is assumed that the reform in Hindu laws is complete.
"This is far from the truth.
"There are still significant discriminations against Hindu women such as in guardianship laws, in property rights with women still being lower in the hierarchy of coparcenaries eligible to inherit ancestral property, Hindu women being discriminated in the right to agricultural land and so on. However, such reforms are not on the government's agenda precisely because their interest is not women's rights."