In a controversial statement during the 'Sankeerthana Yatra' as part of Hanuman Jayanti celebrations in Karnataka’s Mandya district, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government had granted Muslim women "permanent husbands" by criminalising the practice of triple talaq (instant divorce). Bhat claimed that before this intervention, Muslim women did not have stable marriages, stating, "Muslim women didn’t have permanent husbands, they had different husbands every day. PM Narendra Modi gave them permanent husbands."
The controversial remarks were made during the Sankeerthana Yatra', held as part of Hanuman Jayanti celebrations at Srirangapatna taluk, Mandya district, on Sunday, December 24.
He further said, “When the Modi government came to power, triple talaq was removed. The Muslim men were unhappy with this. In reality, this should have been very happy news for Muslim women. They had a different husband every day, no permanent husband. They didn’t have one single permanent husband, the Modi government gave that.” In 2019, the Parliament approved a Bill that made the Muslim practice of triple talaq (instant divorce) a criminal offence. Following this, the opposition accused the BJP government of targeting Muslims as those in breach of this law can be jailed for up to three years. The Supreme Court had declared the practice unconstitutional in 2017.
Turning his attention to the hijab ban in educational institutions, Prabhakar Bhat warned Karnataka’s Congress government against withdrawing the ban, asserting that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is sowing discord among the people. He challenged Siddaramaiah, saying, "The CM has spoken about lifting the ban on hijab. Does he have the 'power' to do it?"
Siddaramaiah on Friday had said that he had directed that the ban on hijabs in classrooms be revoked in the state. After the announcement led to an outcry by the BJP, which incidentally imposed the ban during its tenure, Siddaramaiah said the Congress government had only been contemplating lifting the hijab ban in educational institutions in the state and was yet to decide.
Referring to Muslim student Muskan, who had defended wearing hijab in educational institutions and chanted slogans of ‘Allahu Akbar’ while being heckled by a group of men wearing saffron shawls in February 2022, Prabhakar Bhat said, "If you want to say 'Allahu Akbar,' say it in your house or at the mosque. But if you want to be here, you should chant ‘Jai Sri Ram.’"
He went further, issuing threats to Muskan Khan, challenging her courage to return to college. “The girl (Muskan) has talked of returning to college. Let her go to college if she has the courage,” Bhat threatened. He warned that if the state government revoked the hijab ban, RSS supporters would wear saffron shawls in protest.
"How will Hindu dharma remain if you don’t have at least three children? We will turn into minorities. The number of Hindus in India has reduced, their population has increased, and soon there will be chants of Pakistan Zindabad," he added.