Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today described the contentious issue of triple talaq as "not religious, but one related to comprehensive social reforms" which were the "need of the hour".
He lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the decision to replace the existing National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) with the proposed National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (NCSEBC) and arming the new body with Constitutional status which will benefit Muslims too.
Naqvi's remarks came a day after Modi made a strong pitch against triple talaq, insisting that "exploitation" of Muslim women should end and justice should be meted out to them.
At the BJP's national executive meet in Bhubaneswar yesterday, the prime minister had also said the new commission will benefit all the backward communities, including Muslims.
"Triple talaq is not a religious issue. It's related to social reforms. Comprehensive social reforms are the need of the hour," Naqvi, the Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs, said.
Addressing a BJP workers' convention earlier in the day here, he said the decision to replace the old commission with the new one will ensure that a large section of Muslims became a part of the "journey towards social justice".
"This will fulfil the long-pending demand of social justice to the backward classes by the BJP-led government," Naqvi said, adding that the "historic" decision will ensure justice to all the sections of the society.
The BJP leader reiterated that a bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, during the recently-concluded Budget Session of Parliament, granting Constitutional status to the commission.
However, opposition parties, including the Congress, SP, BSP, TMC, Left parties and JD(U), blocked the passage of the bill in the Rajya Sabha, he alleged.
Naqvi recalled that it was the Parliamentary Committee on Welfare of OBCs which had recommended strengthening the commission and MPs from all the parties had "personally" requested Modi to amend the Constitution for the purpose.
Even after that, the opposition parties resisted the move in the Upper House, he said, terming it as "unfortunate".
"The behaviour of these parties in the Rajya Sabha has exposed their mindset towards the backward classes," Naqvi alleged.
He said giving Constitutional status to NCSEBC will make it a "powerful" body like the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
The NCBC was a "simple legal body", whose job was to advise the government on inclusion into or removal from the lists of castes or communities, said Naqvi.
The NCSEBC, on the other hand, will discharge functions related to protection, welfare and development of the backward classes.