LUCKNOW/NEW DELHI: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is making all-out efforts get the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, stalled in Parliament. Women activists and organisations are also up in arms against the Bill that criminalises instant triple talaq.
But a majority of Muslim women who have been victims of the practice and women organisations fighting for their cause have come out overwhelmingly in support of the Bill.
“Talaq de to rahe ho etab-o-kahar ke saath, mera shabab bhi lauta do mere meher ke saath” (You are divorcing me with such fury and threat, but also give me my youth back with my alimony). This is the sentiment of majority of women who have been left in the lurch by their husbands.
Just four months after marriage, Gul of Rampur was divorced by husband Qasim for oversleeping one morning, while Hassan of Badaun was so enraged by the loss of a hen in his house that he uttered talaq thrice at 11 o’clock in the night, forcing Sanjeeda out with their six-month-old daughter.
There are countless such stories of families being destroyed and lives of women and children being ruined for flimsy reasons. “Triple talaq has become a tool to get rid of a woman after using her to fulfil the physical desire of a man,” says Sameena of Lucknow, backing the Centre’s move to enact the legislation against triple talaq. “It’s a day of reckoning for the entire community, especially the ulemas and the clerics, who should be equally blamed for the plight of talaq victims, as they are the ones who validate this obnoxious practice in the name of shariat and religion,” says Shahla of Sultanpur. She was divorced after 11 years of marriage with three children.
Muslim women’s organisations and activists in Uttar Pradesh, including Shaista Ambar, president of the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board; Shaheen Parvez, state convener of the Rashtriya Muslim Manch and Nazneen Ansari of the Muslim Women Foundation, all came out strongly in support of the Bill.
Questioning the AIMPLB stand, they contended that the Board never comes to the rescue of triple talaq victims. “No financial support is ever extended to such women by the Board. Now when a law is being framed against the practice, they are howling,” said Shaheen Parvez.
The AIMPLB, which had written to the Prime Minister on December 25 to review the Bill in the present form, has started holding talks with Muslim MPs from Opposition parties, urging them to stall the passage of the Bill in Parliament. “Opposition MPs can at least get it sent to a select committee for review,” says Zafaryab Jilani, AIMPLB member.
In Delhi, women activists questioned the Centre’s intention in bringing the Bill. Lawyer and activist Flavia Agnes said, “Is the government trying to target the Muslim community? By criminalising the issue, the government is providing a handle to the police to harass Muslims,” she said. Kavita Krishnan, secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association, said, “The groups which had written to the government on the issue should have been consulted while drafting the law.”