PUNE – The rape case and plight of the 28-year-old Indian Muslim woman, Imrana, is slowly turning into a political drama with, both Muslims and non-Muslims pitching in their worth.
While the fatwa issued by Ulemas of the Deoband and the Muslim Law Board has triggered a hornet’s nest, the Hindu fundamentalists BJP turned to their pet peeve by calling for reforms in the personal laws of Islam and to bring these in consonance with the constitutional guarantees.
Imrana was raped by her father-in-law, who is now in judicial custody, and the issue of Imrana’s marriage and Muslim personal law has all come under sharp focus, in the predominantly Hindu country.
There are 180 million Muslims in India and they were shell-shocked to see on the television screen the victim of rape begging and screaming to be let alone. Fully veiled and in black burqa she was shown on television pleading, “Please leave me alone, please, I’m tired, don’t trouble me, don’t highlight my case, and to look at this case from the point of view of a woman.”
“I shall abide by the decision of the Shariah court, but I would like that the accused be punished severally,” said Imrana. “I will do whatever the Shariah asks me to do,” she added. “If they tell me to leave my husband, then I will. I will follow the fatwa,” she said.
Meanwhile, newspapers too were having a field day by propounding on the issue. In an editorial, Indian Express said that the Ulemas of the Deoband and the Muslim Law Board have made it quite apparent that even in the 21st century, the Ulemas who act under the imprimatur of religion do not understand one simple principle: That a woman is a person in her own right and that Imrana was a victim of a heinous double crime…
Darul Uloom, of Deoband, which issued the controversial fatwa, stood firm before the Shariah court and had in an edict stated that Imrana’s marriage stands nullified in light of the alleged rape and she should separate from her husband.
Her father-in-law Ali Muhammed raped Imrana Noor Elahi, mother of five children and resident of Charthawal town of Muzaffarnagar district in western state of Uttar Pradesh allegedly on June 4. The Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband has ruled that a woman raped by her father-in-law could not be allowed to live with her husband any longer and issuing a fatwa (decree) that her staying with her husband Noor Elahi has become untenable as per the Islamic law after the rape.
The All India Muslim Law Board (AIMPLB) also concurred with the Darul Uloom of Deoband fatwa, while the lone woman member of the board Naseem Iqtedar Ali Khan too approved the edict and said that as per the Qur’an, Imrana’s conjugal relationship with her husband stands dissolved, since she had been raped by the latter’s blood relative. Had she been raped by anyone other than a blood relative, she could have stayed with her husband, but here, a sacred relationship has been violated, the consequences of which has to be borne by Imrana and her husband Noor Elahi and pointed out that the responsibility of the couple’s five children would have to be shouldered by Elahi as long as required. “India is not a Islamic country were a rapist is stoned to death. Here it is the law of the land which prevails in cases of granting relief to a rape victim and punishing the offender” Naseem Khan stated…
The “sacred relationship” referred to above is that between father and son, not husband and wife.