Shoe was hurled at Owaisi from the Right, hints AIMIM

Updated: Jan 25, 2018, 10:18 IST | Hemal Ashar

MLA Waris Pathan says he doesn't know who flung the shoe at the AIMIM chief during triple talaq rally, but claims the culprit follows the 'same ideology as the killers of Gandhi, Pansare and Dabholkar'

Asaduddin Owaisi was speaking at a rally in Nagpada when the incident occurred
Asaduddin Owaisi was speaking at a rally in Nagpada when the incident occurred

Asaduddin Owaisi, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief, allegedly had a shoe hurled at him even as he spoke about giving the boot to the triple talaq Bill. Owaisi was addressing a rally at the Nagpada junction in Byculla on Tuesday night, speaking against "government interference" in the controversial issue, when an "unidentified person" flung a shoe at him, claimed Waris Pathan, AIMIM MLA from Mumbai.

Waris Pathan, AIMIM MLA
Waris Pathan, AIMIM MLA

Pathan said, "We do not know who this shoe thrower was. Somebody from the back hurled the shoe and then ran away. He seemed to be a drunk person." Pathan then claimed that the shoe thrower "followed the ideology of hate". "He was of the same ideology as the killers of Mahatma Gandhi, Pansare and Dabholkar," said Pathan, referring to the assassination of rationalists Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar, allegedly at the hands of right-wing extremists.

Yet, when Pathan was asked how he could be sure what ideology the shoe thrower followed when he did not know who the thrower was in the first place, the MLA simply said, "It was the same tactic as attacking from behind. It was done to create fear in the minds of the people." Pathan then voiced opposition to the triple talaq Bill, disagreeing with the view that groups of Muslim women supported the Bill. To back his claims that the community was largely against the Bill, Pathan claimed that "at least 35,000 people attended the rally".

He added, "We have so many Muslim women who are of the opposite view. Banning triple talaq does not mean protecting Muslim women. It will make them more vulnerable, and the government should not interfere in issues of the community." However, activists were of the opinion that this issue was not about numbers, but rather about equality.

All this shoe-sha just to grab attention
Hurling shoes, which once sent a strong message, is now nothing more than an attention-grabbing tactic. The trend began in 2008, when Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw both his shoes at then US president George W Bush during a press conference in Iraq. Due to overuse though, al-Zaidi's trailblazing action now seems to have lost its ability to provoke or attract widespread attention.

'It's not about numbers'

Feroze Mithiborwala, national co-convenor, Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy
'There were five Muslim women who took the triple talaq fight to the Supreme Court and won it, even though there may have been about 5 crore signatures in support of the practice. This is not about numbers. This is about equality. Freedom of religion does not mean the freedom to oppress.'

Mariam Dhawale, gen sec, All India Democratic Women's Organisation
'Our stand is consistent; we support the banning of triple talaq, it should not exist. However, there should be no criminalisation. Instead, the government should declare it invalid in law. The rights of the woman and children must be protected, and if the woman is harmed, she has recourse to the Domestic Violence Act.'

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