A day after the Allahabad high court observed that Islamic laws on divorce “inflict tyranny and suffering” on women, Shayara Bano, who initiated a legal battle against the contentious practice, called upon Muslim women on Friday to take legal recourse to fight the “injustice.
Shayara (35) from Uttarakhand’s Hempur Daya in Kashipur, filed a petition against the triple talaq, halala and polygamy in the Supreme Court on Feb 23 this year. The Central government filed the affidavit against the triple talaq based on her petition.
Shayara, who holds a degree in MA Sociology, is a victim of the practice of triple talaq, under which a man can divorce a woman by uttering the word “talaq” thrice.
She now sees a ray of hope in the court’s observation and appealed to the women to come forward and not to endure injustice silently.
“Take the help of law like me and have patience, faith and perseverance. I had no money. My kids are taken away. I suffered intense depression. And yet if I can fight a legal battle, why can’t others?” she asked.
Shayara’s husband Rizwan Ahmed divorced her by pronouncing the word “talaq” thrice through a letter sent to her on October 15 last year when she was visiting her parents’ house.
Her husband, who is a property dealer in Allahabad, then took away her two kids-- Irfan (13) and Muskan (11)-- inflicting another emotional blow on her. She has not seen them ever since.
She had a nervous breakdown and also had to be treated for depression and other ailments, her mother Feroza Begum and father Iqbal Ahmed said.
She is now looked after by her brother Arshad Ali, who is trying his hands in property dealings.
“I was constantly tormented for dowry after my marriage in 2002,” Shayara told HT. She alleged her in laws also forced her to undergo six abortions, mainly with the intention of killing her.
After getting the ill-fated letter, a distraught Shayara even went to consult a local cleric. But he told her that the talaq was valid. Her husband also filed a case in the family court in Allahabad saying that his wife had not returned from her parents’ place and had also taken away the jewellery. After the divorce, he sent a cheque of Rs 15,000 for iddat, (period for waiting for a woman after divorce), which was not encashed by her family as they had made up their mind to fight him in the court.
She claimed to have gone through much physical and mental pain that reduced her to a mere “lump of flesh.” But she has now left behind those tormenting days and is determined to fight the injustice and get back her kids.