Muslim women’s groups demanded better representation, codified laws and more facilities from the state’s draft policy for women at the second meeting of the committee set up by the state’s women and child welfare ministry on Wednesday.
Groups such as the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) and the Women’s Research and Action Group (WRAG) asked for the codification of Muslim family laws, a ban on oral divorce, and several infrastructural and civic necessities, such as aanganwadis and hostels.
The draft policy had been put up for suggestions from September 8, 2012 to May 8.
“There has been a legislative and bureaucratic neglect of Muslim ghettoes in the state, and particularly of the rights of Muslim women,” said Noorjehan Safia Niaz of the BMMA. “Although there are self-help groups within the community, there have been no loans or support from the government. The Integrated Child Development scheme is also almost absent in Muslim ghettoes.”
The groups want representation for women in mohalla committees, vocational training centres and schools for women in Muslim-dominated districts, and entitlement for Muslim women.
“Poverty in the Muslim community is severe, and Muslim women face several issues,” said Nasreen Contractor, co-director, WRAG. “It will be the first time these issues are addressed though the policy.”
Farida Lambay, a member of the core committee that drafted the policy, said, “We have received several suggestions from groups and communities, and the policy will be inclusive. In the previous two policies for women, there were no provisions for groups such as transgenders and Dalits, and even Muslim women had very little representation.”