Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray today expressed concern over a recent Delhi High Court judgement allowing Muslim girls attaining puberty the right to get married.
"This is nothing but promoting 'balika vadhus' among the Muslims, while the same (child marriage) is illegal among the Hindus," Thackeray said in an editorial in the party's newspaper.
Elaborating, Thackeray said that as per the Indian laws, no girl below the age of 18 and no boy below 21 are legally permitted to marry.
Bal Thackeray (File photo)
Moreover, any kind of physical relationship with a girl below 18 is treated as "rape", even if that relationship is with her consent. This law applies equally to all Indians, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, he said.
"In this scenario, what will be the status of a Muslim girl who attains puberty and is less than 18 years old? When the law applies equally to all Indians, how can there be a difference only where it concerns a Muslim woman attaining puberty? After all the constitution and laws do not pass their judgements taking into account people's caste or religion," Thackeray said.
Terming the development as yet another attempt to appease the minority community, Thackeray said it was strange how Muslim clerics and intellectuals have maintained silence over such regressive developments concerning marriage, divorce and other personal issues.