Kolkata: The Triple Talaq Bill has been a major poll plank of the BJP, with the party trying its best to woo a section of minorities with the legislation, even as those who had led the crusade against the practice continue to fight for their survival.
In the recently released manifesto for Lok Sabha polls, the saffron party, which failed to legislate the bill in Parliament due to stiff resistance by the Opposition, has pledged to eliminate the practices of instant ‘talaq’ and ‘nikah halala’ if re-elected to power.
Vijaya Rahatkar, the national president of the party’s Mahila Morcha, said the efforts of the Narendra Modi government to pass the ‘Triple Talaq Bill’ will surely yield positive results for the BJP in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.
Ironically, anti-triple talaq champions – Ishrat Jahan, Shayara Bano and Atiya Sabri – who had moved the Supreme Court to seek an end to the practice of instant divorce continue to live in abject poverty, with little or no means of income. The court, in a landmark judgment in 2017, had held the practice ‘void’ and ‘unconstitutional’.
Divorced in April 2015, Ishrat lives with her two children in neighbouring Howrah district in West Bengal.
“I am struggling to make both ends meet. I don’t have money to send my children to school. As of now, I depend on my relatives for financial assistance,” Ishrat told this agency.
Ishrat had joined the BJP in 2018 and was initially expected to be one of the major minority faces of the party in Bengal. It was also speculated that she would figure in BJP’s list of Lok Sabha candidates in the state.
“Things appear to have changed. I am not in touch with the party any more. At times I visit party meetings, but that’s about it,” Ishrat said, when asked if the BJP leaders inquire about her.
The story is the same for Shayara and Atiya, who live under stressful financial conditions with no help from their divorced husbands.
“She doesn’t have any income of her own… We try to help her in whatever way we can,” Shayara brother Arshad told this agency from Uttar Pradesh.
Atiya’s brother Rizwan, who is a resident of Uttarakhand, said the family wants the court matter to be disposed off soon. He appealed to both the state and central governments to look into the early disposal of the case.
“My sister stays with me. She is part of my family. We don’t want any financial help, we just want this matter to end soon,” Rizwan said.
Rahatkar, when apprised of the condition of the three women, said she had met Ishrat and assured her of financial assistance. “We should always stand by those women who have suffered but not given up. I spoke to Ishrat and told her that we will provide assistance if she needed to send her children to school. We are also willing to give her loan under the government’s Mudra scheme to help her start a business,” Rahatkar stated.
Uzma Alam, the convenor of Bengal unit of the women’s cell of ‘All India Muslim Personal Law Board’ said ‘no one but Ishrat was responsible for her precarious condition’.
“When she had issues with her husband and was given the talaq, I told her that we would help her in finding a job and make arrangements for her remarriage. But she had other things in her mind so she can’t blame anybody for her condition now,” asserted Alam.