You cannot pretend to save Muslim women while seeking to bring Muslim community to its knees

Several organizations and activists, including Bebaak Collective and United Against Hate, have released a statement condemning the government’s attempts to “criminalize Muslim men in the guise of protecting Muslim women” through the Triple Talaq Bill which was passed on Tuesday in the Rajya Sabha.

Read the full statement:

We the undersigned groups and individuals condemn the government’s attempt to criminalize Muslim men in the guise of protecting Muslim women. We stand today in strong opposition to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Bill, 2019 which has been pushed through the Rajya Sabha in great haste by this government. Why was it not sent to a select committee? We shall petition the Honorable President to not sign it into law.

At a time when all right-thinking Indians are alarmed at the daily barbaric acts of the lynching of Muslims and the impunity to the perpetrators being provided by the government, this bill is a complete charade. You cannot pretend to save Muslim women while seeking to bring the Muslim community to its knees.

After the Supreme Court in 2017 already made the pronouncement of talaq in a single setting void in law, it is an absurdity to make a person uttering it criminally liable, facing 3 years of imprisonment. Does this bill really care about Muslim women’s access to justice? Imprisoning the husband for three years, leaves the aggrieved complainant at the mercy of her matrimonial family, liable to turn hostile and vengeful towards the wife for putting him behind the bars. Her financial security and that of her children is of no concern in this bill.

Personal laws of all community are civil matters, not criminal matters. This is the first time in the history of India, that we are witnessing criminal provisions in matters of marriage and divorce. In its intent and target, it is clear that this is not a pro-woman but an anti-minority bill.

We further condemn the utterly ineffective floor management of the opposition parties. The time opposition leaders have spent in making passionate speeches against this bill would have been better spent in reaching out to all parties and ensuring their presence for this vote. This is not the kind of opposition that many Indians voted for, and we deserve and demand better. We urge the opposition to stand up to its constitutional duty and protect Indian democracy that is being eroded by the day, with the number of anti-people legislation that is being passed by the government.

Below are the groups and individuals who have signed the statement:

Bebaak Collective

United Against Hate

Uma Chakravarti (historian and feminist activist)

Farah Naqvi (writer and activist)

Harsh Mandar (on behalf of Aman Biradari)

Kalyani Menon Sen (activist and researcher)

Brinelle D’Souza (TISS)

Geeta Seshu (journalist)

Arundhati Dhuru (human rights activist)

Madhavi Kukreja  (women’s rights activist)

Ritu Dewan (economist)

Muniza Khan

Hameeda Khatoon

Dev Desai (social activist)

Johanna Lokhande

Nandita Narain

Sophia Khan (lawyer and women’s rights activist)

Nasiruddin Haider (journalist and activist)

Sangita Malshe

Manisha Gupte (women’s rights activist)

Biraj Mehta (academic)

Persis Ginwala

Sandhya Panaskar (women’s rights activist)

Purnima Gupta

Anita Rego

Dimple Oberoi Vahali

Mamta Singh (women’s rights activist)

Sadaf Jafar

Talat Aziz

Mumtaz Shaikh

Supriya Sonar

Padma (women’s rights activist)

Anita Cheria

Shilpa Phadke (academic)

Sylvia Karpagam (public health doctor and researcher)

Saurav Datta (journalist and activist)

Adv.Sanobar Kishwar

Runu Chakrvarty

Sheeba George (women’s rights activist)

Indian Christian Women’s Movement

Forum Against Oppression for women

Aawaz E Niswan

Parwaaz

Sahiyar

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