Whatever Happened to...
many other such stories are there that never come to light?
6, 2005, Ali Mohammed raped his daughterin- law, Imrana, in Charthawal
village of Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district. Imrana spoke
up, filed a complaint. A religious panchayat passed a fatwa saying the
rape had in effect made Imrana her husband’s mother, and prohibiting
her from staying with him. As for Mohammed, divine justice would catch
up with him, the panchayat ruled. But meanwhile, Imrana would have to
observe a seven-month ‘purification’ period and then marry
her father-in-law. The fatwa incurred national uproar, particularly after
UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav said the maulanas must have given
it a lot of thought. The courts, however, didn’t agree nor did the
media, and TV studios, news headlines and opinion columns were occupied
by the Imrana issue for weeks on end.
Mohammed was arrested on June 13, 2005, and was sentenced to 10 years’
imprisonment on October 19, 2006. He was also directed to pay Imrana a
fine of Rs 8,000; this he has not done. Imrana’s husband, Noor Ilahi,
stood by her all the way; he refused to divorce her, and suffered excommunication
along with her. With their five children, the couple moved to Imrana’s
native village, Kukda in UP, and cannot imagine returning to Charthawal.
The Rs 50,000 that the All India Democratic Women’s Association
gave her, she’s used to buy a plot of land, on which she has built
a hut with help from the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan. No longer in
the headlines, Imrana’s remarkable courage made her story a milestone
for Muslim women’s organisations across the country in their struggle
for gender reforms.
FROM THE ARCHIVES:
Dozens of Imranas are becoming victims of illegal decrees which have no
basis in Islam. They are issued by half-literate maulvis who wield tremendous
influence over the Muslim community. Hartosh Singh Bal reports
legal fiction behind the controversy
By Tahir Mahmood
love is the outcaste
In Haryana, caste panchayats force women who marry into the ‘wrong’
gotra to tie rakhis and accept their husbands as brothers. Mihir Srivastava
reports from Rohtak