What ails the Indian women?

Author Abha Singh launches the Urdu edition of her book ‘Aurat Halat aur Hal’ in Mumbai

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Geetanjali Minhas | January 14, 2019 | Mumbai


#Muslim women   #triple talaq   #domestic violence   #book   #MeToo   #‘Aurat Halat aur Hal’   #lawyer   #women empowerment   #Bombay high court   #Abha Singh  


Abha Singh, who is practicing in the high court of judicature at Mumbai, launched the Urdu edition of her book titled ‘Aurat Halat aur Hal’ in Mumbai on January 10. The Hindi edition of the book ‘Stree – Disha aur Dasha’ focuses on women empowerment as well as judicial laws and discusses available legal remedies for women who have been subjected to crimes like domestic violence and rape. 

Talking about her decision to come out with an Urdu version, Singh said that so far issues of domestic violence, #MeToo cases, and laws have only been accessed by the urban women. The aim is to empower and sensitise other women in their own languages as well. She added that 30 percent to 40 percent girls drop out of schools after they reach class VI or VII as they have to help at home. She added that only 10 percent of women join government services, 11 percent join politics and 10 percent to 12 percent work in the judiciary. “After getting a job with difficulty, if a woman has to face #MeToo, she is completely shaken,” Singh said.   
 
Noorjehan Safia Naaz of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), who was also one of the petitioners in the Triple Talaq case in the supreme court, said that like all other religions we have also been demanding a separate codified personal law for Muslims that provides for women’s rights as laid down in ‘Quoran’. “Constitutional safeguards apply to all citizens. Because there is no codified law and no legal protection we have been observing that underage marriages are justified and triple Talaq on WhatsApp is considered legally valid,” Naaz said.
 
She said that practices like halala, mutata, one-sided divorce and polygamy - that exploit women - should be legally debarred. Abandonment and desertion must be criminalised to protect women. “We have prepared a draft of Muslim Personal law and have been asking governments in power to give Muslim women their rights,” she said.         
 
Present on the occasion, MP Majeed Memon said that constitution of India is the apex law. Article 21 of the constitution ensures right to life to every citizen of India. The supreme court has defined the right to life as the right to live happily, with respect and dignity and not mere existence, which is equally applicable to Muslim women.
 
He expressed that Muslim women are not able to fight for and exert their rights. “They should not lose courage and go to the court and tell the chief justice of India that rules, practices or methods of their community are violating these rights. Unfortunately, we have too many laws and too little justice. For whom are these laws made? Laws are being made for us,” said the noted lawyer. “You cannot discard women like soiled clothes, this is barbaric and cannot be imagined in the 21st century in modern India and a progressive society,” he added.
 
MLA Waris Pathan said triple talaq concerns a particular section of the Muslim community and prior to finalising the bill stakeholders like Muslim scholars and intellectuals were not consulted. “When the government has decriminalised section 377 and adultery why criminalise triple talaq?” he asked.
 
Actor and activist Gul Panag, who was also present at the event, said that though women are very slowly empowering themselves, the change is very small compared to the change that needs to happen.
 
Poonam Dhillon, actor and VP BJP Mumbai, and actor Bhagyashree, and actor and politican Smita Thackeray were also present at the event. 

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