Indian opposition vows to trash divorce law

NEW DELHI (AA): India’s main opposition party has pledged to do away with a law that criminalizes Muslim men to instantly divorce their wives if it wins the elections.

The triple talaq (instant divorce) law — by uttering the word “talaaq” thrice — was declared “unconstitutional” by the Indian Supreme Court in 2017.

Sushmita Dev, the women’s wing chief of the Indian National Congress party, said on Thursday at a meeting in New Delhi that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had created an environment where Muslim women were pitting against Muslim men.

“A lot of people told us that women will be empowered if the triple talaq bill is passed. But we opposed that law because it is a weapon that Narendra Modi Ji has prepared to put Muslim men in jail and make them stand in police stations,” the Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted her as saying.

Modi-led BJP federal government brought the bill to parliament last year. It was passed in the lower house but Congress and other parties opposed it in the upper house.

Under the proposed law, giving instant divorce  “will attract a jail term of three years for the husband”.

Indian journalists wear helmets and here is why: In a bid to grab attention toward recurring attacks on media in India, a group of journalists wore helmets to “save themselves”, local media reported Thursday.

The journalists wore helmets on Wednesday while covering an event of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Raipur, state capital of central Chhattisgarh state, broadcaster NDTV reported.

The symbolic move comes a week after a journalist was thrashed by BJP activists at their party office in Raipur. The accused have been arrested and are behind bars.

The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) termed it as an “attack on the freedom of press”.

“They [journalists] wanted to send a symbolic message to the BJP government — and also fulfill a practical need in case they are attacked again,” NDTV quoted the reporters wearing helmets.

Last Saturday, BJP activists attacked journalist Suman Pandey after he caught on camera a scuffle within the party workers.

“He was attacked and beaten by BJP officials, demanding that he delete the footage,” the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said in a statement on Thursday.

Pandey suffered a head injury and was hospitalized.

Soon after the attack, Pandey filed a police case and BJP’s Raipur chief Rajeev Agarwal was arrested along with three others.

Local journalists staged a protest demonstration against the attack demanding an investigation and for safer working conditions for journalists in India.

The current incident is one of many attacks on media in India which is ranked at 138 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index 2018.