By Pervez Bari
Jaipur: An unprecedented mammoth and historic silent rally by Muslim women of Rajasthan was taken out here in Jaipur on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 to protest against “The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017”.
Over half a million of Muslim women from all over Rajasthan, came out of their houses to join a silent procession and express their angst against the Centre’s Triple Talaq Bill, like other various cities of other states of India. Jaipur known as the Pink City was virtually turned into “black” as a large throng of Muslim women were mostly clad in black burqa dotted the rally. Among the milling women participants in the rally was 90-year-old lady, who is the mother of Maulana Mohammed Fazlurrahim Mujaddidi, the secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, (AIMPLB).
Later a delegation of AIMPLB’s women office-bearers and members called on Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh and apprised him about Muslim women’s views and emotions on Triple Talaq Bill. They also presented him a memorandum about the Triple Talaq Bill to be forwarded to the President and Prime Minister of India.
Holding placards, with varies slogans and demands rejecting the proposed Bill 2017 and demanding no interference in Shariat (Islamic law) by the government. Some of the placards read as “Hum Qanoon Shariat Ke Paband Hain”; “Hamein Sirf Shariat Manzoor Hai”; “Talaq Bill Wapas Lo Wapas Lo”; “Teen Talaq Bill Personal Law mein Madakhlat hai”; Shariah gives us dignity & Honour” etc.
This was one of the biggest gathering so far of Muslim women in the country joining voice against the Triple Talaq Bill. The rally started at 10:00 a.m. from Chardarwaza and winding its way via Ghat Gate, Nawab Ka Chauraha, Moti Dogri Road finally converged into a meeting point at Muslim Musafir Khana.
Later the rally was addressed by Women Members, in-charge of Women Wing and office bearers of AIMPLB. Especially AIMPLB Secretaries Maulana Mohammad Fazlurrahim Mujaddidi and Maulana Mohammad Umrain Mahfooz Rahmani ().
AIMPLB Secretary Maulana Mohammad Fazlurrahim Mujaddidi described the defect of the proposed controversial Bill, popularly known as Triple Talaq Bill, and informed that the content of the Bill is a violation of Article 14 and 15 of the Constitution. The Bill is anti-social as it converts a civil matter to a criminal offence. The Bill envisages to criminalise instant Talaq-e-Biddat (instant Triple Talaq), has been termed as “anti-Constitutional, anti-Shariah and anti-women”.
In his speech, another AIMPLB secretary Maulana Mohammad Umrain Mahfooz Rahmani took jibe at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bringing the Bill. “If he (the PM) is pointing fingers towards us, then why he has deserted his wife? He asked. More than 22 lakh Hindu sisters have been deserted by their hubbies but the government is not concerned about them, he added.
Dr. Asma Zehra, AIMPLB’s Women Wing convenor, said Muslim women have been holding protest march across the country demanding rollback of the bill as they are happy with Shariah law.
Dr. Asma highlighting the problems of women in the country, she said according to an estimate more than 15 million girls are killed in the wombs and 28,000 are burnt to death for dowry every year. The government is least concerned about the real issues and raked up the Triple Talaq issue unnecessarily which is not an issue for Muslim women, she said.
The government has been diverting attention by raking up non-issues because it has failed on all fronts and promises made to the people of this country for coming to power, Dr. Asma pointed out.
“The Bill is being presented as a historic one that will empower women. How is it empowerment if homes are destroyed and women are left to beg on the streets?” She asked.
Echoing her views, Chennai-based Fatima Muzaffar of Muslim Mahila Research Kendra said the present government should not take the Muslim women for granted. The PM claimed that the Bill will bring the happiness on the face of Muslim women but it is nothing but a big lie, she said.
AIMPLB member Yasmeen Farooqi said by coming on the streets in huge numbers against the Bill in several parts of the country, Muslim women have smashed the government’s claim that it wants to ‘liberate’ Muslim women.
She also criticized the President of India’s mention of Muslim women in his addressed to the Joint session of the Parliament.
Speaker after speaker warned the government that it should not commit the folly of considering the Muslim women as weak as Islam emancipated them 1400 years long ago.
Speakers also highlighted “defects and glaring flaws” in the proposed Muslim Women Marriage Protection Bill 2017.
Glaring Flaws in the proposed Bill on Divorce
Not has the Government forbidden the act of triple divorce and made it is punishable act through this Bill; it has been drafted with the aim of depriving Muslim husband and Muslim Women of his/her rights to the divorce and Khula. The drafted in such a way that it is not only banning Triple Talaq but against the all types of Talaq or Talaq System as a whole.
• In the section “Definitions”, divorce is defined as: “Talaq-e-Biddat” or any identical form of Talaq through which husband may pronounce immediate and irrevocable divorce.
• It is common knowledge for any student of Shariah that the above Definition forbids even Talaq bain as a cognizable act. For there is no room for revocation in this form of divorce and it is with immediate effect. So even the divorce arising out of Khula which is forbidden according to this Bill. Its consequence will be that the wife who is keen on securing separation from her husband will be forced into live with her husband, without her will.
Contradicts Supreme Court Judgment 2017
• During the Triple Divorce case in Supreme Court, the attorney general had clearly stated that their objective is to put amend to the entire Talaq System. However, in view of the learned judges’s ruling that arguments will be restricted only to the lawfulness or otherwise of Triple Divorce, the attorney general focused only the Triple Divorce.
• In its judgment Supreme Court recognized all forms of divorce other than Triple Divorce as an essential part of Islam and Muslim Personal law and ruled out any change in these.
• The government introduced this Bill in Parliament which aims at demolishing the whole institution of Talaq. For misleading public, however, the Government strongly carried out the propaganda that its intention was to forbid only Triple divorce.
Contradiction in the Proposed Bill:
• This bill is marred by strange contradiction. For example, according to this law, divorce will not come into effect yet husband will be liable to penalty and 3 years imprisonment.
• This law takes away the right of child’s custody from husband and grants this responsibility to wife. At the same time, husband will bear the maintenance of wife and children. On the one hand, it insists that divorce does not come into effect and the marital tie remains intact, yet its consequences indicate the dissolution of the tie and the separation between husband and wife. For when a couple leads normal life, the need for a separate law for the custody of children and maintenance of husband and wife does not wise.
• A major flaw in this law is that it vests women with the right of custody and bringing up of children. However, the prevalent Guardianship and ward, Act places premium on child’s interest. Husband or wife who can protect child’s interest better will have custody.
• Another serious flaw in the law is that it deems the act of divorces as a non – bailable and cognizable crime. Police may arrest a husband even without a court warrant. Worse, police may initiate this action not only on wife’s complaint, but also on anyone’s complaints, even though even his wife keep denying that no divorce ever took place
• The Civil contract is penalized converting civil matter into criminal offence.
[Pervez Bari is a Senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He regularly contributes to IndianMuslimObserver.com – India’s First Online Muslim Newspaper. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org]