NEW DELHI: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s (AIMPLB’s) decision to boycott the Law Commission’s questionnaire on triple talaq and polygamy drew sharp reactions from Muslim women across the country, with some activists even speaking out against the discriminatory laws in the Shariat.
The Muslim Mahila Foundation president Nazneen Ansari in Lucknow condemned the AIMPLB for twisting Shariat laws to their advantage. “Why should the Shariat be taken into account only when there’s a debate on the freedom of Muslim women?” asked Nazneen. “Why don’t these clerics press for Shariat laws against Muslim men accused of rape and other such crimes?” Nazneen told reporters.
Zakia Soman of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan in Agra called for a nation-wide campaign to ensure women’s participation in filling out the questionnaire. “The Law Commission has given us an opportunity to raise our voices against anti-women practices. Our organisation will get over 50,000 forms filled by Muslim women. We have asked our units in 15 states to get the forms completed,” Soman said. Similar thoughts were echoed by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan co-founder Noorjehan Safia Niaz, who accused the AIMPLB of politicising the Law Commission’s questionnaire.
“The Board uses personal laws to perpetuate patriarchy and does not want to discuss their codification. It tried to communalize the issue when it said that the government wants to start internal religious war,” said Mumbai-based Niaz. Often described as “a minority within a minority”, Indian Muslim women have often called for socio-economic reforms by seeking access to education and employment.