New Delhi: August 1 will be celebrated as “Muslim Women’s Rights Day” from now on, as it was on this day last year  that the triple talaq bill got the Presidential nod. This plan has been made by the Bharatiya Janata Party with the intention to increase its acceptability within the Muslim community, say sources.

Sources say that the BJP will celebrate this “historic day” in a big way, with prominent faces from the Cabinet, including Smriti Irani, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Ravi Shankar Prasad, addressing Muslim women through virtual conferences. Other party leaders have also been asked to hold virtual conferences and similar programmes across the country, in a move, which the party feels, will strengthen communal harmony in the country and expand the party’s reach among Muslims.

Naqvi, who is the Union Minister for Minority Affairs, is playing a prominent role in designing the details of the programmes that will focus on reaching out to Muslim women.

“Our government is painted as anti-Muslim by many people and yet it was only our government that brought the bill to abolish the cruel practice of triple talaq. The abolition of triple talaq has improved the social and economic status of Muslim women across the country, especially those who are in the lower strata. The positive impact of this Act will be seen in the years to come,” a senior BJP leader told The Sunday Guardian.

The bill, which provides for a jail term for Muslim men who practise triple talaq, was passed in the Lok Sabha on 25 July 2019, with 303 MPs voting in its favour and 82 against it. It was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 30 July, with 99 MPs voting in its favour and 84 opposing it.

As per the numbers collated by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, there has been an 82% decline in instances of triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat after the passing of the “The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019”, which has criminalised triple talaq.

According to ministry officials, from 1985 and until August 2019, at least 383,000 instances of triple talaq were reported in the country. However, post July 2019, only 1,039 cases of triple talaq were recorded. These numbers, as per ministry officials, were collected from various Waqf boards, minority commission and local administrations.

Before August 2019, the maximum number of triple talaqs was reported from Uttar Pradesh (63,400), West Bengal (51,800), undivided Andhra Pradesh (41,382), Maharashtra (39,200) and Bihar (38,617).