New Delhi: Over 50,000 Muslim women and men have signed a petition seeking a ban on triple talaq. The petition, spearheaded by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), has sought the National Commission for Women’s intervention to end this “unQuranic practice”.
BMMA co-founder Zakia Soman said a national signature campaign was underway in different states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, MP, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Kerala and UP.
“So far, 50,000 signatures have been collected where women and men have endorsed abolition of triple talaq, many more signatures will be collected in the coming days. We have written to NCW chairperson Dr Lalitha Kumaramangalam to enlist its support to this long-pending demand of Muslim women,” Soman said.
A recent BMMA study found that 92% of Muslim women supported an end to this practice. Unilateral divorce sometimes given over phone, text message and email has become increasingly frequent, leaving women with the short end of the stick. Oral divorce coupled with the heinous practice of ‘nikah halala’ (practise where a woman must marry another man, consummate the marriage before she is allowed to remarry her husband) has been a bane for Muslim women who do not receive maintenance or alimony and are often left fending for themselves and their children.
Bhopal-based Sadiya Vaquas said cases of triple talaq had become rampant. “Men are getting away by using Facebook, SMSes to give talaq to women. They have no legal rights and the qazis support them and not us.” Noorjehan Safia Niaz from BMMA added, “In many cases, the qazis offer themselves as temporary husbands.” Recently, the Supreme Court admitted a petition by Dehradun-based Shayara Bano demanding abolition of the practice.
BMMA has been advocating reconciliation and mediation where the divorce process is carried out over a period of 90 days. “Muslim women are citizens of India and all constitutional safeguards are applicable to her (sic). The Muslim personal law must be reformed in such a manner that all discriminatory practices are struck down as illegal and Muslim women’s constitutional and Quranic rights are safeguarded,” the petition says.