Triple talaq: 1 million Indian Muslims sign petition against divorce practice

India is home to the world's second-largest Muslim population.

Story highlights

  • India is one of few countries with large Muslim populations not to have banned triple talaq
  • The practice has been criticized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

New Delhi (CNN)Over a million Muslims from across India, the majority of them women, have signed a petition to end the controversial divorce practice of triple talaq.

Triple talaq is an Islamic practice where a man can divorce his wife by saying "talaq," the Arabic word for divorce, three times.
The petition was started by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), an Islamic organization affiliated with the right wing Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
    The RSS is linked to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
    "For a long time when we were not in the government, the BJP had, and still has, the ideology that gender equality is a must, irrespective of religion or caste," BJP official Sidharth Amarnath Singh told CNN.

    Vote winner?

    The positive response to the petition has been linked with BJP's recent success in state elections in northern Uttar Pradesh.
    "The fact that the BJP was able to get Muslim votes in Uttar Pradesh ... suggest that the party and the central government need to heed the voice of the Muslim women," MRM national coordinator Mohammad Afzal told magazine India Today.
    Last week, Modi's party won in a landslide, taking 312 seats out of a total of 403, the biggest majority for any party in Uttar Pradesh since 1980.
    According to the most recent census, Muslims make up 18.5% of Uttar Pradesh's 200 million-strong population, the largest state in India.
    Elected as a lawmaker for Allahabad West, a constituency where 90,000 of the total 400,000 voters are Muslim, Singh noted that although Muslim women may have supported the BJP, it didn't necessarily bring the party more votes.