'Complete Charade': Activists, Civil Society Groups Condemn Triple Talaq Bill

The signatories also criticised the role of opposition parties, who they said had failed to corral MPs from all parties and ensure their presence during the vote.

Several activists, including those specifically devoted to women’s rights, have released a statement condemning the government’s attempts to “criminalise Muslim men in the guise of protecting Muslim women” through the Triple Talaq Bill which was passed on Tuesday in the Rajya Sabha.

Questioning why the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Bill, 2019, was not sent to a parliamentary committee but instead passed in “great haste,” the signatories vowed to petition President Ram Nath Kovind to not sign it into a law. The president’s assent is the only step left for the Bill to become an Act.

“At a time when all right-thinking Indians are alarmed at the daily barbaric acts of lynching of Muslims and the impunity to the perpetrators being provided by the government, this bill is a complete charade. You cannot pretend to save Muslim women, while seeking to bring the Muslim community to its knees,” the statement read.

Also watch: Here’s Why the Triple Talaq Bill Does Nothing for the Rights of Women

Repeating earlier criticism of the Bill and how it glosses over the actual process of providing justice to Muslim women, the activists argue that imprisoning a husband leaves the complainant at the mercy of her matrimonial family. Such a family, they say, could turn hostile towards the wife for complaining against the husband and putting him behind bars.
The bill neither addresses nor concerns itself with the financial security of the woman and her children, say the signatories, who also point out how the Bill becomes the first instance in free India where criminal provisions have been brought into matters of marriage and divorce which are avowedly civil matters.

The signatories also criticised the role of opposition parties in this regard. “The time opposition leaders have spent in making passionate speeches against this bill would have been better spent in reaching out to all parties and ensuring their presence for this vote. This is not the kind of opposition that many Indians voted for, and we deserve and demand better. We urge the opposition to stand up to its constitutional duty and protect Indian democracy that is being eroded by the day, with the number of anti-people legislations that are being passed by the government,” the statement says.

Below are the groups and individuals who have signed the statement:

Bebaak Collective
United Against Hate
Uma Chakravarti (historian and feminist activist)
Farah Naqvi (writer and activist)
Harsh Mandar (on behalf of Aman Biradari)
Kalyani Menon Sen (activist and researcher)
Brinelle D’Souza (TISS)
Geeta Seshu (journalist)
Arundhati Dhuru (human rights activist)
Madhavi Kukreja  (women’s rights activist)
Ritu Dewan (economist)
Muniza Khan
Hameeda Khatoon
Dev Desai (social activist)
Johanna Lokhande
Nandita Narain
Sophia Khan (lawyer and women’s rights activist)
Nasiruddin Haider (journalist and activist)
Sangita Malshe
Manisha Gupte (women’s rights activist)
Biraj Mehta (academic)
Persis Ginwala
Sandhya Panaskar (women’s rights activist)
Purnima Gupta
Anita Rego
Dimple Oberoi Vahali
Mamta Singh (women’s rights activist)
Sadaf Jafar
Talat Aziz
Mumtaz Shaikh
Supriya Sonar
Padma (women’s rights activist)
Anita Cheria
Shilpa Phadke (academic)
Sylvia Karpagam (public health doctor and researcher)
Saurav Datta (journalist and activist)
Adv.Sanobar Kishwar
Runu Chakrvarty
Sheeba George (women’s rights activist)
Indian Christian Women’s Movement
Forum Against Oppression for women
Aawaz E Niswan