NEW DELHI: After winning a legal battle for their right to pray in both temples and shrines, women crossing the barriers of religion have now come together to raise their voice against the practice of triple talaq that has been used specifically against Muslim women by the men with impunity.

Even as Muslim women have taken the matter to the courts, they have found support from the woman movement that has issued a strong statement in their support, and against the Muslim Personal Law Board that has been taking a highly questionable position on the issue.

The Muslim Bhartiya Mahila Andolan has approached the courts to strike down the practice of triple talaq altogether. In what is now a direct counter to the Muslim Personal Law Board women from all walks of life and across all communities have come together to support the Muslim women in their campaign against triple talaq.

Every point made by the members of the Muslim Personal Law Board has been effectively countered by the women collective. The MPLB, instead of intervening for the rights of women, has filed an affidavit. The women collective has refuted this point by point, condemning the MPLB position, in a widely circlated statement.

The two positions, thus, are:

MPLB: Any move to abolish the practice of triple talaq is against the Quran;

Women: This practice is gender discriminatory and epitomises patriarchal values and therefore must be abolished.

MPLB: Women lack decision making qualities so only the men can have this right;

Women: The belief that women lack decision making qualities dilutes the citizenship rights of Muslim women in India who have been exercising their electoral rights for more than sixty years now.

MPLB: Polygamy is Islamic though not promoted and this practice ensures marital rights for Muslim women, banning of which will tantamount to promiscuous sexual practices or murder of women in hands of their husbands;

Women: This challenges the principle of ‘equality’ enshrined by our Indian Constitution for women who are being treated as second class citizens as compared to their male counterparts of the community

MPLB: The Supreme Court of India has no right to intervene in the religious law of the community.

Women: It eliminates the possibility of Article 14 which promises equal rights to the citizens within Indian territory across religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.

The women collective signing under Bebaak Collectvtive (Voices of the Fearless) makes it clear that they “envision a gender just law for the community where women’s question of social security and rights promised by the Indian Constitution will be practised.”

The statement signed by a host of women activists, scholars, journalists, students and others attacks the Muslim Personal Law Board for not progressing to take up the rights of women, and instead continuing to endorse the patriarchal ideas of the community.

“We do not believe in progressive or regressive interpretation of religion or codification of Muslim Personal Law for we believe that in every community there are multiple realities of an identity, multiple practices of beliefs and pluralist envisions of family structure. We therefore, emphasize on acknowledgement of women’s rights which are otherwise controlled in the name of religion, purity or chastity or even in the garb of ‘protecting’ women” the statement concluded rejecting the Board’s arguments and endorsing the Muslim women in their struggle for equal personal rights.