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Monday, October 2, 2023

Acid attack in UP’s Bulandshahr on Muslim woman who filed petition in SC against Nikah Halala

Shabnam Rani, a triple talaq victim and one of the women who filed a petition against nikah halala and polygamy in the Supreme Court, was attacked with acid in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr on Thursday, Dainik Jagran has reported. The acid attack is suspected to have been carried out by her brother-in-law and his friends – Rani was reportedly being forced to perform nikah halala with the brother-in-law in order to remarry her husband who had divorced her through triple talaq.

Rani was assaulted at her in-law’s house on Wednesday. The acid attack took place next day on Thursday morning when she was on her way to the police station to register a complaint with the SSP about the assault.

Rani was rushed to the local hospital and her condition is said to be stable, reported India Today.

Rani hails from Delhi and was married off to Bulandshahr eight years ago, said the report. She had earlier accused her husband of divorcing her through triple talaq and forcing her to perform nikah halala with her brother-in-law, after which she filed a petition at the Supreme Court challenging practices of nikah halala and polygamy.


Shabnam Rani, triple talaq and nikah halala victim, attacked with acid in UP’s Bulandshahr (Courtesy: Dainik Bhaskar)

The Supreme Court in July sought a response from the Centre on a fresh plea challenging practices of polygamy and nikah halala among Muslims, as it referred the matter to a constitution bench that has been already asked to hear a batch of similar petitions.

The apex court, had last year banned the age-old practice of instant triple talaq among Sunni Muslims. Following the SC verdict, Lok Sabha passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill in December last year that made the practice a criminal offence for which a police officer may arrest an accused without a warrant. However, Congress and other ‘secular’ parties have been opposing the bill and it has been stalled in Rajya Sabha despite the Union Cabinet approving a provision of granting bail to men to accused men.

Nikah halala is a process in which a Muslim woman, who wants to re-marry her husband after divorce, has to first marry another person and get a divorce from the second person after consummating the marriage.

Last week, armed assailants attacked Farzana, another Muslim woman who filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking abolition of the nikah halala practice. According to Times of India, Farzana and her brother were attacked in Uttar Pradesh’s Sikandrabad. The woman was reportedly getting threats to withdraw the PIL and had already lodged a complaint with the police. The condition of the woman’s brother is extremely critical.

In July, Bareilly’s influential Dargah Aala Hazrat seminary passed a fatwa (Islamic ruling) asking Muslims to boycott Nida Khan, a leading voice against triple talaq and nikah halala. Nida got married to Ahmed Raza Khan and was allegedly harassed by her in-laws for dowry before being given instant triple talaq. She was also forced to have nikah halala with her father-in-law.

Soon after, another fatwa was passed against Nida Khan announcing a cash reward of Rs 11,786 for anyone who chops off her hair; she also received threats of being ‘attacked with stones’ and was asked to leave the country within 3 days.

And while Muslim women who dared to raise their voice against such regressive practises are being targeted with impunity, left-liberal feminists and womens’ rights advocates have remained strangely muted.

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