Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Failure of Indian Muslims in Imrana case: Community, Clergy & Courts

The Imrana* issue has once again brought to fore the severe divisions among the Muslims in India and their failure to evolve a system to protect the victims belonging to their community who have suffered diverse forms of exploitation.

There is not a single nationwide body among Muslims that can rehabilitate the woman. When voices were coming from all sections about what will happen to Imrana, not one bearded Maulana or any organisation could come out saying that she will be protected or offered finacial assitance by us.

Unfortunately, all the self-styled Muslim politicians and clergymen are ready to speak on the issue for hours but none could pledge the personal support to her.

Even now there is no discussion about such a security system for needy, widow, orphan and other victims of violence in Muslim society. The Waqf properties worth billions that could easily have led to formation of such welfare system are mismanaged all over the country. 

Either it is the victims of Gujarat violence or the likes of Imrana, the Islamic society in India has failed to rise to the occasion.

What's the case of Imrana?

Imrana was an uneducated Muslim woman, who lived in a village in Muzaffar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh. She was allegedly raped by her father-in-law. A local panchayat subsequently termed her 'nikaah' with her husband Noor Ilahi has null and void, as she had sexual contact with his father.

The Ulema were approached. A controversial fatwa held the position of the panchayat and local clergyman as correct. This set off a wave of anger across the country. TV channels lapped up the case. However, Imrana's husband stood by his wife.

Noor Ilahi said that he would not give divorce to his wife. They later shifted to her native place where they bought a small piece of land, through money given by a woman organisation. Her father-in-law was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment and is now in jail.