A distressing report has been received from Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh. A women police constable has alleged that she was raped by her father in law, when she was alone at home with him. When the husband of the woman came to know of this horrible deed, he promptly divorced her!
The father in law, Nazeer Ahmed, is employed by the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and had raped the woman on Wednesday. The victim, herself employed by the police, has also alleged that the perpetrator threatened to kill her if she disclosed the matter to anyone.
The woman told everything to her husband Abid, who is also said to be employed with the police. Instead of taking a legal recourse, Abid promptly divorced her using the banned practice of triple talaq. The woman has now approached police and filed a case. She has also alleged in her complaint that the in-laws often beat her for dowry ever since her marriage.
This is not the first such case of this variety and such cases have been reported with some regularity over the years. The first such famous case was of a woman named Imrana, from the Charthawal town of Muzaffarnagar district in UP. She was 28 and a mother of five at that time when father in law raped her, in 2005. The village panchayat, with the aid of a Maulavi, pronounced that she had to be divorced by her husband as he had become illegal for him now. Her husband was to be treated as her son henceforth.
The case received much media attention and the Muslims went to the famous seminary of Darul Uloom in Deoband town of Saharanpur to get a fatwa(a religious injunction for Muslims). The seminary confirmed the ruling and affirmed that Imrana and her husband cannot live together in light of Islamic law.
Rather than supporting the rape survivor, religious bodies of Muslims ganged up on her. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board(AIMPLB) had a majority view that supported the fatwa from Deoband, with even the sole woman member of the board, Naseem Iqtedar Ali Khan, too supporting the edict by the seminary. The CM at the time, Mulayam Singh Yadav also supported the Deobandi fatwa, because it was apparently the demand of secularism.
Since then, there have been multiple cases with similar outcomes. In a virtual repeat, another 28 year old Muslim woman was raped by her father in law in 2014 on gun point. The issue came to light when she became pregnant in 2014, despite her husband being in Dubai since 2012. She was divorced by her husband. Islamic clerics ruled that her husband would now become her son, meaning a Muslim man could in theory simply rape his daughter in law and make her his wife!
Curiously, there have been cases where the husband himself forced the wife to sleep with his father under the now banned Islamic practice of Nikah halala. In regional media, such news are reported more regularly than in national media.
The Islamic law on such cases
The clerics of Deoband and other have based their rulings on the Quran and Hadis. Apparently, there are disputes over the interpretation of the verses among different castes/sects of Muslims. However, the Hanafi sect of Deoband is said to be the dominant form of Sunni Islam in Bharat.
According to Islamic scholars, Quran chapter Surah An-Nisa, verse number 4:22 says that “Do not marry the women whom your fathers married, although what is past is past. This indeed was a shameful deed, a hateful thing, and an evil way” i.e. if a person’s father has slept with a woman, he cannot marry her and in case of his wife, he has to divorce her. We could find a fatwa on the site of Darul Uloom, which quotes a Hadees to say that if a woman has relationship with anyone else than “ father-in-law, father-in-law’s father, her husband’s grandfather, son of the husband etc ……..she did not become haram on her husband “, meaning that in case of sexual relations with those mentioned she becomes illegal for her husband under Islamic law.
The recent incident and the precious such incidents raise the issue of Uniform Civil Code once again. In any case, a code purged of such horrific abuse against women is definitely the need of the hour. Additionally, efforts should be made to ensure that pre-existing laws like triple talaq law are strictly enforced.
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