A BJP leader stoked a controversy in the Odisha Assembly onThursday when he said "Muslim women dominated the red-light areas ofMumbai and Kolkata" while speaking in support of the "tripletalaq" bill.
B C Sethi, the deputy leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) in the House, quoted "survey reports" from magazines andnewspapers during Zero Hour to justify his claim even as members of theCongress and the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) demanded that the statement beimmediately expunged from the records.
"What is wrong in quoting survey reports in the House?I have not made any adverse remark against any community, but quoted surveyreports that say Muslim women dominate the red-light areas in Mumbai andKolkata," Sethi said.
He was replying to Congress members, who had criticised theBJP-led central government for pushing through the Muslim Women (Protection ofRights on Marriage) Bill in Parliament.
The Congress members had on Wednesday said the bill shouldhave been amended before it was passed by Parliament.
President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the"triple talaq" bill on Thursday, making the practice of instantdivorce among Muslims a punishable offence.
Sethi claimed that some political parties, with an eye onminority votes, were opposing the legislation.
"The opponents of the 'triple talaq' bill should keepit in mind that the legislation was passed in Parliament on humanitariangrounds to protect the interest of the women at large," he said.
The practice of "triple talaq" was abolished in 38countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh, the BJP leader maintained.
"The 'triple talaq' bill has nothing to do withreligion and is aimed at eradicating a social evil. Now, one cannot divorce hiswife just by uttering 'talaq-talaq-talaq' in an inebriated state or via amobile phone message," he added.
Speaker S N Patro said he would examine the remarks of theBJP member and requested the Congress lawmakers, who were agitating in the wellof the House, to return to their seats.
When the agitating MLAs refused to budge and attempted toclimb up to the speaker's podium, Patro adjourned the proceedings till lunch.