A muslim woman speaks on her mobile phone as she walks through a market in Delhi, India December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
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When Narendra Modi stood before faithful followers in October, on a stage swathed in the saffron colors of his Hindu nationalist movement, the Indian leader made an unexpected overture.Modi denies involvement in the 2002 riots, but his rise to national power in 2014 was accompanied by groups of hard-line Hindus attempting mass conversions of Muslims and cases of beating and whipping of Muslim men in broad daylight.The proposal is a bold ploy to win approval and votes from Muslim women and chip away at an important bloc of voters – there are around 170 million Muslims in India – that has thus far viewed Modi with suspicion.Uttar Pradesh, with nearly 40 million Muslims out of 200 million people, is a key test of Modi's popularity as he prepares to seek a second term in 2019 .Triple talaq is banned in some Muslim countries, including India's neighbor and rival Pakistan, but is allowed under Indian rules designed to protect religious communities.In interviews this month in Uttar Pradesh, many Muslims, men and women, said they were opposed to triple talaq, but voiced conflicted emotions about the prospect of Modi's involvement.
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