The Maharashtra State Women’s Commission (MSWC) in association with the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) organised a consultation session on Saturday for women who have been given triple talaq. The Supreme Court is set to hear the triple talaq issue from May 11.
As part of the session, several women who had been given arbitrary oral triple talaq shared their opinions on the practice.
Shazia Khan (20), a resident of Pune who got married in early 2016, was divorced by her husband via WhatsApp a year after their marriage.
“I have decided to fight back, not just for me but for others who have suffered triple talaq. We are no commodities that can be used and thrown away whenever they want,” she said.
Another woman, 28-year-old Ayesha Sayyed, said that she woke up one day to find her husband telling her that she had been divorced and that she should go back to her parents.
Ayesha’s husband, who is a Maulvi, informed her that he divorced her in his right mind.
“I was seven months pregnant then. Today, my daughter is three years old and my husband has married another woman. Not even once has he come to see our daughter,” Ayesha said.
Ayesha Shaikh, a Hindu by birth, had married Anwar Shaikh at the age of 16 in 2006.
After allegedly facing harassment and domestic violence for years, she got an unsigned talaqnama (divorce letter) in 2012. A mother of two, she now works as a social worker and helps women in distress.
“I embraced the religion so that we could get married. As I was just 16 years old, it was my husband’s idea that I change my religion. He often asked me to get money from my parents, which I did not. He divorced me for that,” said Shaikh.
Vijaya Rahatkar, chairman of the MSWC, said: “We are all awaiting the hearing of the case in the apex court on May 11. However, we will support these women at all stages. To start with, we will examine and take action in cases where women have faced domestic violence. Further, the commission will provide consultation and help of every kind to the survivors of triple talaq.”
Rahatkar added that in the past one year, the commission has received representations from at least 150 women,
and applications seeking intervention from at least 11,500 women who were given triple talaq.
A Muslim women’s rights group, BMMA, has been approaching the MSWC and the Maharashtra State Minorities Commission (MSMC), seeking a complete state-wide ban on the practice of triple talaq, oral talaq, unilateral talaq and halala (wherein a woman has to marry another man if she wants to settle with her former husband).
The BMMA also spoke about a survey it had conducted in 2015, on Muslim women belonging to economically weaker sections.
The survey stated that of the 4,710 Muslim women from economically poor strata of the community, it found that 525 were divorced, which made up 11.14 per cent of the study group. Of these, 408, who make up 78 per cent of the divorcees, were given unilateral divorce.
“The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) does not talk to us. People from our own community are opposing its ban. We have no other option but to meet the AIMPLB. There should be some law, wherein women should get some help. Giving divorce orally is easy for husbands. The ‘Mulla mafias’, including the muftis and maulanas, also support men,” said Niaz.
Khatoon Shaikh, convenor, BMMA (Maharashtra chapter), who has signed and given the letter to both the commissions, said: “We have procured thousands of signatures from women across the state who opposed triple talaq, and another 50,000 have been forwarded to the central women’s commission.”