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In a significant announcement, Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev on Thursday said that the party would abolish the Triple Talaq law if it was voted to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Speaking at the AICC minorities convention in the presence of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Dev said the focus of the Triple Talaq Bill was not to empower Muslim women but to penalise Muslim men.

“I promise that the Congress party will come to power in 2019 and will scrap the Triple Talaq law. The law is just another weapon of the Modi government to arrest and harass Muslim men and put them in prison,” Dev said.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in the Winter Session of  Parliament last year but has faced roadblocks in the Rajya Sabha. The Opposition has demanded that the bill be sent to a select committee.

In January, the government re-promulgated the ordinance banning the practice of instant triple talaq, which attracts a jail term of three years for the husband. While the ordinance makes it a “non-bailable” offence, an accused can approach a magistrate even before trial to seek bail.

Reacting to her remark, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra termed it as Congress’ “appeasement politics”. “Rahul Gandhi says that if Congress comes to power, it will scrap triple talaq law. It is nothing but appeasement politics,” he said.

Training her guns on the government over the Citizenship Bill, which has lead to unrest in the North-east, Dev said the legislation was unconstitutional and the Congress would oppose it tooth and nail.

“The Citizenship Bill is creating unrest in Assam. The Congress is fighting against it. The bill is unconstitutional. We won’t let the government bring any law that is against the Constitution,” the MP from Assam’s Silchar said.

The Citizenship Bill, passed by Lok Sabha on January 8 amid a walkout by the Congress, seeks to remove hurdles for migrants belonging to minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan in getting Indian citizenship.