MSD statement released at the press conference held at the Press Club in Mumbai on July 2, 2004
Muslims for Secular Democracy (MSD) is pleasantly surprised at the reported intention of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to call for an end to the inhuman and anti-women practice of triple talaaq (instant divorce).
With all its reservations against the Board, which since its inception has remained a mute witness to continuing injustices against Muslim women, MSD would nevertheless consider it a small step forward should the Board actually pass a resolution denouncing the instant talaaq practice at its scheduled meeting on July 4. But reports in the newspapers in the last few days, with conflicting statements attributed to different office bearers of the Board, leave little room for hope.
The least one can expect is that the Board will arrive at some consensus on the model nikaahnama proposed by several Muslim women’s groups nearly a decade ago and on which the Board continues to drag its feet.
The dogged refusal of the Board to initiate reforms in family laws in India long after numerous Muslim-majority countries have done so defies common sense.
Meanwhile, and not surprisingly, a few fundamentalist Muslim bodies have already threatened a nationwide agitation should the AIMPLB pass an anti-triple talaaq resolution.
MSD strongly condemns such retrogressive and reactionary Muslim outfits and reiterates its demand for comprehensive reforms in all the existing personal (family) laws in the country to ensure justice to women.
A press conference specially convened on this issue at Mumbai on July 2, 2004 was addressed by:
Javed Akhtar (President, MSD)
Hasan Kamaal (Vice-president, MSD)
Sajid Rashid (Vice-president, MSD)
Javed Anand (General Secretary, MSD)
SMA Kazmi (Organising Secretary MSD and Senior Advocate, Allahabad High Court, flew down to Mumbai specially for the press conference).
Mr. Gulam Mohd Peshimam (MSD Convener) and Founder Members of MSD, who could not be present at the press conference:
Mr. Zafar Agha (Delhi),
Mr. Askari Zaidi (Bhopal),
Mr. Anwar Rajan,
Mr. Anwar Shaikh,
Ms. Yasmin Shaikh,
Ms. Razia Patel (all Pune) and
Mr. Humayun Mursal (Kolhapur) telephonically expressed their full support to the statement being issued in Mumbai today and reiterated the demand for reforms in all existing personal laws in India.
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