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Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar: I thought it is my duty to speak, being a Muslim and having gone through a broken marriage.

Saying that Indian Muslims are against creating “Zia-ul-Haq’s Pakistan in Gandhi’s secular India”, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday asked the Centre not to interfere in religious matters, referring to the triple talaq Bill.

“All the Muslims, who have stayed back in India, have stayed in Gandhi’s India. Jammu and Kashmir, which despite being a Muslim majority state, aligned with India, did it because of Gandhi’s secular India,” Mufti said at a press conference in Srinagar. “We don’t want to create a Zia-ul-Haq’s Pakistan in Gandhi’s India.”

Speaking on the triple talaq Bill passed by the Lok Sabha, Mufti said, “Today, there is an assault on the family structure of the Muslims… Being a Muslim first, a woman, and also having gone through a broken marriage, I thought it is my duty to speak,” she said.

The first woman Chief Minister of J&K, Mufti divorced after six years of marriage in 1984. She is a single mother of two girls. “I have gone through a broken marriage and I feel that the biggest challenge for a woman after break-up is the economic challenge,” she said. “When people talk to BJP about reservation for Muslims, they reject any kind of reservation — whether in education or jobs — on religious lines. But when it comes to this kind of law, which is on religious lines, they go to Parliament.”

She said the Bill was introduced without consulting even a single Muslim parliamentarian. “In such a big parliament, not a single Muslim Parliament member has supported this Bill,” she said.

Mufti said the Muslims of India are ready to abide by the Supreme Court rulings. “Whether it is the case regarding the Babri Masjid or triple talaq, we (Muslims) are ready to abide by the SC ruling,” the former CM said. “In contrast, they (BJP) don’t accept SC decision on Sabarimala. They openly say that whatever the SC decision is, the (Ram) temple will be built there (at the dispute site) only.”

She said the BJP-led central government has launched an economic onslaught on Muslims and was now entering their houses. Unfortunately, the economic onslaught on the Muslims through curbs on meat and leather (industries), where Muslims work as labourers, as wage earners, has resulted in the worsening economic situation of Muslims. They have now entered our homes because of which our family life is disturbed,” she said.

Mufti warned against interference in the affairs of the Muslim community, saying it would have consequences. “Through this (Bill on triple talaq), what is the message you are sending to 25 crore Muslims. They (BJP) don’t get well along with Gandhi ji but I don’t think, it is the legacy of Vajpayee ji,” Mufti said. “It would be better if you don’t interfere in our religion. If you do, you will have to face the consequences.”

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