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Knew triple talaq verdict would be in favour of hapless Muslim women: Shayara Bano’s mother

A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court, by a 3:2 majority, ruled that the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims was “void, illegal and unconstitutional”.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2017 21:52 IST
Abhinav Madhwal
Abhinav Madhwal
Kashipur, Hindustan Times
Triple talaq,Shayara Bano,Supreme Cour
Shayara’s father Iqbal Ahmed and mother Firoza celebrate at their Hempur home in Kashipur.(HT Photo)

Congratulatory phone calls kept abuzz the cramped military quarters of Iqbal Ahmed on Tuesday after the Supreme Court outlawed triple talaq or Muslim instant divorce on a bunch of petitions, including that of daughter Shayara Bano.

Ahmed is a clerk with a facility rearing military horses in Hempur, located off the Ramnagar-Kashipur highway in Uttarakhand.

“I am overwhelmed by the people’s love,” he said.

Everybody knows Bano, or at least heard of her, in this cantonment area set amidst crop fields and villages with a spattering of homes.

Ahmed and wife Firoza were watching television news since morning. Their sons, Arhsad and Shakeel, were in New Delhi with their sister. And when the news flashed, the parents jumped for joy.

“We always stood by our daughter,” Firoza said. “I knew the verdict would be in favour of hapless Muslim women suffering at the hands of their husbands.”

Bano’s husband used triple talaq to divorce her in 2015 and she was among six petitioners who approached the top court to ask for a ruling. It was a long and hard fight for her.

“She became weak after the triple talaq and torture by her husband. But she stood up to the challenges and filed the case and the learned judges have given a path-breaking verdict,” Firoza said.

In her petition, Bano challenged the Muslim husband’s right to divorce by uttering talaq thrice in a row is unilateral, unguided, absolute, has no rationale and cannot be identified with Islamic culture.

Besides, she challenged polygamy and nikah halala, which says a woman divorcee seeking to re-wed a former husband must first consummate a marriage with another man.

According to Ahmed, the family faced pressure to withdraw the petition.

“An influential cleric called me to Bareilly and put pressure on me to take back the petition, saying it would put Islam in danger,” he said.

Also, the family was accused of taking bribe money from people fighting against triple talaq and of being supported by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Hindu nationalist organisation and ideological mentor of the BJP.

“I have never met any RSS member nor do I have any links with them. All their allegations were absurd and the court verdict proved it,” Ahmed said.

Firoza shared similar information about her daughter’s fight for justice, saying Hindus supported her cause wholeheartedly. “Many Muslims supported us too.”

Ahmed wants to take the battle to next level.

“We want imposition of a uniform civil code in India, as there should be single law governing marriages. We are against polygamy and would strive for its removal by legal means,” he said.

First Published: Aug 22, 2017 21:52 IST