The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), a group that was one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court seeking triple talaq ban, held a press conference on the issue on Monday. The move comes a day after the women’s wing of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) took out a rally to protest the Triple Talaq Bill in Parliament. The press conference was held at the Marathi Patrakar Sangh.
“Orthodox and patriarchal males have dominated the debate on rights of Muslim women and have stone-walled any attempt towards reform in Muslim personal law. Recent marches organised by these groups also indicate how they have brazenly instrumentalised women and used them against their own legal protection. They have never spread understanding about women’s equality based on the Quran. On the contrary, they have indulged in rampant misinterpretations supporting triple talaq, halala, and polygamy. They are responsible for the biggest disservice to not just Muslim women, but also to Islam. While the rest of the Muslim world has reformed laws and ensured legal rights of women, Indian Muslim clerics have kept Quranic rights away from them. Their resistance to change has only added to the anti-Muslim rhetoric,” said the press statement.
The group which added that it was obligatory for the elected representatives and the government to enable women to get justice, sought complete ban on instant triple talq and changes in the government’s draft bill. Qazis who abet instant triple talaq should be jailed, and polygamy, halala, and muta marriage, among others, should be banned.
“This government must now listen to the voice of progressive Muslim women. It has so far not heeded to the amendments that the BMMA has been demanding. A balanced law ensuring protection of women and deterring men is required, and the BMMA has done the needful by presenting this amended version to the government. Why is the government stonewalling the voices of women who have been working since the past decade to ensure Muslim women’s Quranic and Constitutional rights? It is also time that the government and the Opposition stops politicising the issue and ensure a balanced and comprehensive law,” said the press statement.
The group went on to say that Parliament must live up to its duty of passing a Muslim family law just as they passed the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. It feels that justice for Indian Muslim women can be enabled either through amendments to the Shariat Application Act, 1937, and the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, or a completely new enactment of Muslim personal law.