Muslim organisations, including the Indian Union Muslim League, have joined hands to oppose the law banning child marriage on the ground that the Child Marriage (Prevention) Act is against the provisions of the Muslim personal law.
At a meeting of Muslim organisations convened by the Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyyathul Ulama here on Friday, a committee was constituted with Kottumala Bappu Musaliar, secretary, Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyyathul Ulama, as chairman, M.C. Mayeen Haji, IUML leader, as convener, and Mustapha Mundupara as coordinator to “protect” the Muslim personal law and also explore scope for legal remedies whenever necessary.
Mr. Mundupara, spokesman for the convention, told The Hindu on Saturday that the meeting was convened in response to complaints from many mahal committees about problems in families in which girls were given in marriage before the age of 18 due to ‘unavoidable circumstances.’
Criticising the Child Marriage (Prevention) Act, which made marriage of girls below the age 18 an offence, speakers at the meeting said the law violated religious rights of the Muslim community since the Muslim personal law did not specify the age for marriage of girls in the community.
“The constitutional protection enjoyed by the Muslim community should not be diluted or taken away. The Muslim personal law does not prohibit marriage of girls below the age 18,” Mr. Mundupara said.
The convention also endorsed a suggestion to carry on a campaign to avoid marriage of girls at an early age except under unavoidable circumstances, he said.
The meeting, in a resolution, appealed to the State and Central governments to take remedial measures on this issue.
Kotumala Bappu Musaliar presided over the convention.
Besides representatives of the Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyyathul Ulama and the Indian Union Muslim League, leaders of the two factions of the Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen, Jammaat-e-Islami Hind, Muslim Educational Society, and the Muslim Service Society participated in the convention.