Former Minister Nafees Fazal quit the Congress with a strongly-worded stand against the state of affairs in the party. She talks to Rohan Ramesh about her anger at the Congress party’s refusal to tackle triple talaq and her support of PM Narendra Modi’s stand on it.
“If you are harping on Sharia law, then follow it all the way!" said former minister Nafees Fazal, taking a firm stand against triple talaq. Going on to praise PM Narendra Modi’s stand on triple talaq, she added, “I admire Modiji for his stand on the issue of triple talaq. I request the PM to disband the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), formed in 1972 by a group of NGOs. These fundamentalists have been given too much importance by the Congress. They are very regressive and in 2015 led a nationwide protest against surya namaskara and yoga, calling them anti-Islam. I am a practising Muslim who has performed Haj four times and says namaaz five times a day but I have been doing yoga for 30 years. I have observed a similarity between the postures in the Surya Namaskara and namaaz. They are behaving like the Khap panchayat who are a law unto themselves.”
Islamic scholars are the people to consult in case of ambiguity, not the AIMPLB, she said categorically. “These maulvis and mullahs don’t have the authority to issue fatwas. Islamic scholars from the Deoband and Bareilly schools are the only ones to consult in case of any ambiquity." she insisted.
“Instant talaq is not in keeping with the Sharia. If you must harp on it, follow it all the way! Why only subject a woman to it? The Sharia says that a person who commits murder should be beheaded and anyone who commits theft should have their hand chopped off. Sharia law also says adulterers should be stoned to death.”
Triple talaq has been banned in over 20 Muslim countries she said, adding that India hasn’t been able to follow suit because of organisations these, which have been given the power to dictate terms. “Talaq should be performed in the Quranic way, according to surah talaq.”
With the triple talaq case coming up for hearing in May, Ms Fazal is confident the Supreme Court will pass a judgment in favour of aggrieved Muslim women. “And I'm positive that Modiji will not interfere or nullify the judgment like Rajiv Gandhiji did in the Shah Bano case in 1986."She doesn’t mince her words describes her humiliation at the hands of AICC vice -president, Rahul Gandhi, who she says isn’t mature enough to lead the party.
"I am very peeved by the fact that although Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and Rahul Gandhi talk of women empowerment, Muslim women are being denied a voice as they proffer support instead to our male counterparts, who view progresive women like me as competition and resent our growth. CM Siddaramaiah is surrounded by a coterie of JDS loyalists and being a newcomer, does not recognise senior Congress workers,” she said angrily.
“In 2016, when as a social worker I asked for a nomination as an MLC, Rahul Gandhi insulted me in a room full of people and made derogatory remarks about a great philanthropist like Dr. Devi Shetty, whose name was on my resume, saying I would be disqualified on these grounds and shouldn’t expect anything from him. I have no faith in the Congress leadership or the future of the party. It is neither in a position to be a credible opposition and nor is it in a position to govern under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, who is very immature," she observed caustically. So does this mean she is joining the BJP? “I have not taken any decision yet. Having just resigned from the Congress, I will take things one step at a time.”