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Marriage age from 18 to 21: Left sees it as diversionary tactic, IUML calls encroachment on personal law

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Marriage age from 18 to 21: Left sees it as diversionary tactic, IUML calls encroachment on personal law
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New Delhi: The Union government's proposal to raise the age of marriage for women to 21 years has met with opposition from opposition parties, particularly from the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) that moved a notice for adjournment motion in the Parliament on Friday against the proposal, terming it an attempt to encroach on Muslim personal law.

Apart from the IUML, AIMIM, Samajwadi Party and CPM's women's wing, the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) have also expressed their objection to the proposal citing the interference of customs of different faiths and nuances, which are expected to be occurring during the implementation of the proposal.

Moving the motion, IUML Leader and Rajya Sabha MP Abdul Wahab wrote that the Union government's proposal to raise the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 can only be seen as an attempt to encroach on Muslim personal law. He also sought the government to withdraw the proposal considering the concerns of the community over the matter.

AIMIM leader and Lok Sabha member Asaduddin Owaisi also slammed the proposal stating that the move is against the fundamental right of the citizens to take decisions. Taking to Twitter, he wrote "This is typical paternalism that we have come to expect from the government. 18-year-old men & women can sign contracts, start businesses, choose Prime Ministers & elect MPs & MLAs but not marry? Supreme Court recognised right to privacy as a fundamental right for adults. The autonomy to take decisions concerning oneself are critical to this fundamental right. In contrast, Modi government decides what we eat, whom or when we marry, what God we worship, etc."

In a poor country like India, where parents want to marry off their daughters at an early age, a proposal like this will have an adverse effect on society, said Samajwadi Party leader Shafiqur Rahman Barq.

Meanwhile, the CPM's women's wing, the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) sees the proposal as a diversionary tactic by the government that is trying to bring women empowerment in an ineffective way.

A statement released by the AIDWA in this effect said that "this move to raise the marriageable age is clearly a diversionary tactic from a government which refuses to allocate adequate resources towards nutritional programs like the ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme), education and healthcare. If, as has been noted, the nutritional status of women remains low from birth onwards, getting married at 21 and having a child after that cannot improve the condition of maternal and child health or mortality."

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