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Indian Muslim women divided on instant divorce bill, stage protests

Muslim women in parts of India's northern state Uttar Pradesh stood against each other over the implementation of 'Triple Talaq (Instant divorce by saying 'talaq' three times) Bill', which criminalizes the practice.

In northern spiritual town Varanasi, women protested against All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) which demands the retraction of the ‘Triple Talaq Bill’ claiming it to be an intervention into ‘Sharia’ (Islamic Law). Burqa-clad women also burnt effigies of the organization; a protestor said even ‘Quran Sharif’ (Religious Islamic Book) doesn’t support ‘Triple Talaq’.

Whereas, in Lucknow and Kanpur, women took to the streets raising slogans demanding a rollback of the law claiming it to be unconstitutional and interference in religious freedom. A protestor, Rehana claimed that there are many flaws in the current state of the bill.

In August, the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional the practice of triple talaq, which allows Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering the word “talaq” three times. Muslim women had petitioned the court, arguing the practice of husbands divorcing them through “triple talaq”, including by Skype and WhatsApp, not only violated their rights but left many women destitute.

Many Muslim countries have banned triple talaq, including neighboring Pakistan and conservative Saudi Arabia. It survived in India because the officially secular country allows religious communities to apply their own laws in personal matters such as marriage, divorce and property inheritance.

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