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BAREILLY: After Sunni Barelvi cleric Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan, while speaking on ‘triple talaq’ on Sunday, said that there have been instances where a woman has been married to five men and she was unaware about the identity of her children’s fathers, Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists staged a protest here on Wednesday and sent a memorandum to governor Ram Naik demanding legal action against the cleric. A complaint has also been submitted to the police which haven’t yet lodged an FIR.

In their memorandum to governor Naik, leaders of VHP’s district unit said that the cleric’s remark, which has caused an uproar among members of the Hindu community, shows how narrow-minded he is. “In our community, we offer prayers to women, but the cleric spoke derogatorily against women. It has hurt our religious sentiments. We have requested the governor to take legal action against him,” said Manvendra Pratap Singh Rana, VHP’s district president.

“As the district administration gave permission to the cleric to organise the event, it is their responsibility to lodge an FIR against him. If our demand for legal action against the cleric is not met, we will stage violent protests across the district, including villages, tehsils and city areas,” Rana said.

Addressing a gathering at Samajik Ekta Sammelan on Sunday, Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan had said, “Uniform civil code is not a national issue, but it is being raised to divert the attention of citizens from the corrupt practices of the government. There have been many instances of the violation of women’s rights. For example, a woman was married to five men, but we never claimed that it was wrong. Poor woman didn’t even know names of her children’s fathers.”

When TOI spoke with Khan, the cleric clarified, “I had passed this remark while opposing uniform civil code and the Centre’s affidavit in the apex court against ‘triple talaq’. I have proof of many cases where a woman has been married to brothers. I meant to say that rituals are different in every community and the Centre should not interfere in it.”

Meanwhile, a Meerut resident submitted a complaint with police against the cleric on Wednesday. Alleging that Khan’s remark has hurt religious sentiments of Hindus, Updesh Rana said, “We want police to lodge an FIR against the cleric to maintain peace.” Police have yet not lodged an FIR in the matter.