After the Narendra Modi government took the big step in favour of Muslim women by enacting a law to declare triple talaq illegal and punish the guilty, the Yogi Adityanath government of Uttar Pradesh has taken the initiative to bring justice to the Hindu women deserted without divorce by making a law to address the issue.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, while speaking on the issue of the Union law against the Islamic practice of triple talaq on Wednesday, said that abandoned Hindu women will be given similar justice, too.
Yogi Adityanath said that a law would be made to punish Hindu men who marry and also keep a concubine. The number of separated (abandoned) women in the country is more than double the number of divorced women.
According to the 2011 Census, there are 23 lakh women who have been abandoned without divorce. Hindu women comprise the largest section in the lot while the number of Muslim women of the category is negligible. There are about 20 lakh Hindu women in the country who have been separated and deserted without divorce. This number is 2,80,000 among Muslims, 90,000 among Christians and 80,000 from other religions. These women have no option but to fend for themselves.
Percentage-wise, Hindu women separated without divorce makes 0.69% of the total; Christians make 1.19%, 0.67% are Muslim whereas other minorities (Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists, etc) comprise 0.68%. Seen this way, the number of women left without divorce among Muslims is much less than that in other communities.
The condition of these abandoned women is quite pathetic. Even the households of their parents do not welcome them back. No one adopts them. Many become victims of sexual predators who either force or lure them into physical relationships or push them to the flesh trade. Many are trafficked to other countries. The best-case scenario for them is taking refuge in dharmshalas (free homes), which do not enjoy a repute of safe houses either.
While triple talaq used to be legitimised by the law of Shari’ah under the peculiar model of Indian secularism where religious personal laws were allowed until the legislation against the Islamic practice, abandoning the wife or even divorcing her at the drop of a hat has never been legal for Hindus, Christians, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists and other non-Islamic communities in the country. It will, therefore, be interesting to see how the Yogi Adityanath government would declare something, which is already illegal, illegal anew.
The featured image is representative.