From Shah Bano to Shukkur, how CPM has changed over the years in Kerala

In 1985, the Supreme Court granted maintenance to a 62-year-old Muslim woman, Shah Bano, from her husband after their divorce.

Published: 13th March 2023 06:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th March 2023 06:02 AM   |  A+A-

CPM, CPM flags, CPI(M)

Image used for representational purpose only. (File photo| EPS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In 1985, the Supreme Court granted maintenance to a 62-year-old Muslim woman, Shah Bano, from her husband after their divorce. However, in 1986,  the Congress government weakened the verdict by enacting a new law. At that time, the CPM was the lone party to support the rights of Muslim women. In Kerala, under the leadership of EMS, the party campaigned extensively for the rights of Muslim women, highlighting their suffering after the Mutalaq.

However, forty years later when a Muslim couple remarried under the Special Marriages Act to ensure that their daughters received their entire property, CPM in Kerala is not very enthusiastic about the development.  The event has also sparked a debate on issues related to Muslim personal law. Under personal law, if a couple only has daughters, they would only receive two-thirds of their father’s property.
With the 2024 parliamentary elections approaching, and given the changing political landscape in the state, both the CPM and Congress are cautious in approaching this issue, bearing in mind the minority vote bank. 

When asked about the party’s stand on the issue, the state secretary of the CPM, M V Govindan, told TNIE that the remarriage of Shukkur and his wife is an exceptional issue that the party has not considered for discussion or taken a  decision on. However, a CPM state-level leader, speaking anonymously, acknowledged the seriousness of the issue but also expressed concerns that the BJP may use it for political gain. 

All India Democratic Women’s Association national president P K Sreemathy also asserted the view that the decision of Shukkur and his wife to remarry is at a personal level. “It is only an individual decision. AIDWA has not taken a decision on this issue,” she said.

However, Kanathil Jameela, CPM MLA from Koyilandy told TNIE that she supports the move in her personal capacity. “Many women had approached us for mediation to get the property. There are families with 2 cents of land and a house. After their husband’s demise as they have no sons the husband’s relatives took over the property”, she said.

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