More than 30,000 burkha-clad women took to the streets on Tuesday protesting against the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill, which criminalises instant triple talaq. They first held a demonstration against triple talaq bill at the Muslim Institute Hall off Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road in central Kolkata and later walked to Rani Rashmoni Avenue in Esplanade area.
During the protest, Muslim women leaders talked about how the triple talaq bill was an intervention into Shariya or Islamic law. The agitating women submitted a deputation to West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi. “The content of the Bill is against the constitution of India, it is anti-women and anti-children. The Bill is anti-social as the civil contract is penalised, converting civil matter into criminal offence,” protesting women were quoted as saying.
Suboohi Aziz, secretary, All Bengal Muslim Women’s Association, said that they would want the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to be more vocal against the triple talaq bill. “We are hopeful that Mamata Banerjee will support us and she should suggest that Islamic analysts should analyse the Bill before accepting or rejecting it,” she reportedly said.
She further said that all Muslim women did not want any change in Shariya. Taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she said, “The Prime Minister seems to be very concerned with the welfare of Muslim women and also has the support of some renegade Muslim women. What he doesn’t tell others that it is the only religion where women, too, can divorce their husbands if they felt suppressed and were subject to cruelty.”
The ‘Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill’ proposes a three-year jail term for a Muslim man who divorces his wife through talaq-e-biddat (instant triple talaq). After the Cabinet’s nod, the bill has been passed by Lok Sabha. However, the bill yet to be passed by Rajya Sabha to become a law. The Supreme Court has set aside instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat as a “manifestly arbitrary” practice.