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Imrana

How many other such stories are there that never come to light?

Photo: Reuters

On June 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:

The Imrana Syndrome
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

Opinion
The legal fiction behind the controversy
By Tahir Mahmood

Where 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

Sep 22, 2007

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