In an interview with news agency ANI on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about several issues like surgical strikes, the Rafale deal, Ram Mandir, demonetisation, loan waivers etc. However, his statements on women-centric issues like Sabarimala and Triple Talaq have created stir across social media. Let’s take a look at the women-specific statements PM Modi made on the very first day of the new year.
On Triple Talaq bill
“Triple Talaq Ordinance was considered a progressive move by you but at the same time in the Sabarimala issue your party gets stuck in the garb of customs and traditions. Why this contradiction?,” Smita Prakash, editor of ANI, questioned PM Modi on this contradiction.
“Triple talaq is a matter of gender equality, Sabarimala is tradition”
The Prime Minister said that the ordinance against instant Triple Talaq was brought keeping in mind gender equality and social justice and this, he believes, is something that should not be seen as a religious issue.
“It is an issue of gender equality, matter of social justice. It is not an issue of faith.”
Modi said that the The Triple Talaq ordinance was brought after the Supreme Court verdict. “We have said in our BJP manifesto that a solution would be found to this issue under the Constitution. Most Islamic countries have banned triple talaq. So, it is not a matter of religion or faith. Even in Pakistan, Triple Talaq is banned. So it is an issue of gender equality, matter of social justice. It is not an issue of faith. So keep the two separate,” he stated.
Talking about the entry of women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala shrine and protests by the right-wing groups, PM Modi suggested that this issue directly “relates to tradition” and the Supreme Court judgment that saw a dissent by a lady judge (Justice Indu Malhotra) should be read carefully.
The PM said that India is of one opinion that everyone should get justice. However, he added, “There are some temples, which have their own traditions, where men can’t go. And men don’t go… In this, Sabarimala, a woman judge in the Supreme Court has made certain observations. It needs to be read minutely. There is no need to attribute those to any political party. As a woman, she has made some suggestions. There should be a debate on that as well sometimes.”
On Ayushman Bharat
Dismissing talks about the failure of the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, the PM said that the Yojana has helped lakhs of people across the country and there is no way it has failed to match up to the promises. “The poor are (being) given insurance of up to ₹5 lakh under Ayushman Bharat Yojana. A large number of people were suffering (for want of healthcare), today they have got treatment. How can I consider this a failure?”
On India’s middle-class
Talking about the country’s middle-class, Modi said that it’s about time we start changing our thinking. “The middle-class never lives on someone’s mercy. They live with dignity and make immense contribution towards running the country.”