Qutub Kidwai, Javed Anand and Shahbaz Khan at the press conference yesterday
Qutub Kidwai, Javed Anand and Shahbaz Khan at the press conference yesterday

Calling the practice of nikah halala, "sex trade" and persons dealing in it as, "running sex shops," the Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD), a Mumbai non-profit fighting for the rights of Muslim women and gender equality, slammed triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy at a fiery press conference yesterday. IMSD said it fully supports the petitions in the Supreme Court of individual victims of triple talaq and welcomes the fact that these petitions are now to be heard by a constitutional bench from tomorrow.

What is halala?
While the triple talaq is relatively well known, halala is a practice where a divorced woman has to marry someone else and consummate the marriage. She can then get a divorce, if her ex-husband wishes to remarry her and they want to get back together as husband and wife.

The consummation is mandatory. Khatoon Shaikh of IMSD said, "There is a point of view which states that halala is punishment for men. How is this punishment for men? It is a punishment for the woman." Khatoon claimed that there are some who brush this away stating it does not exist, yet, she insists, "halala is reality today and there have been some maulanas who have stated, this is just for one night! (ek raat ki toh baat hai). This is trade of women. Close your sex shops!"
Javed Anand, convenor, IMSD, asked, "What is the difference between sex trade and halala? This is trade of women," he said, endorsing Khatoon's viewpoint.

Govt gets a bollocking
The speakers stressed that the practice of triple talaq and halala is un-Quranic, inhumane and anti-women. They hoped that the apex court will also examine and include in its verdict the constitutionality of the "privilege" of unilateral divorce enjoyed by Indian men under Muslim Personal Law.

Narendra Modi's government was roundly and soundly slammed by the speakers, who claimed that the PM's recent remarks about 'triple T' as "injustice to Muslim women" is opportunistic politics.

Why sudden concern?
Anand said, "Listening to the statements of the PM, the Sangh and the UP CM, one would think that they cannot sleep at night worrying about the fate of Muslim women." Anand said this is "sudden concern for Muslim women".

Asked whether they want the Centre to support the abolishment of Triple T and halala, the speakers said, "Yes, they can speak but don't communalise it."

The IMSD spoke in one voice when they said the renowned Maulana Syed Shahabuddin Salafi Firdausi of Sholapur (Maharashtra) has also said that "instant divorce by uttering talaq, talaq, talaq is a mockery of Islam and an act of cruelty against the daughters of Islam.