What Would It Take To Get Justice For Muslim Women In India?
Media has reported about a pregnant Muslim woman and her two sisters who were allegedly stripped and tortured inside a police outpost in Assam’s Darrang district. As a result, the expecting mother had to be admitted to a hospital where her pregnancy was terminated. Police had rounded up the three Muslim women, namely, Minuwara Begum, Sanuwara and Rumela from Guwahati after their brother had eloped with a Hindu girl. The women were taken into custody from their homes and tortured at the police station the whole night.
“We were brutally beaten up with sticks. My pregnant sister had pleaded to spare her as she was carrying a baby in her womb but Mahendra Sarma said we were acting. She lost the baby due to the assault,” one of the sisters of the pregnant woman told news agencies. According to the sisters, the police took action only after the sisters on Tuesday told the media about the torture and alleged that nothing had been done for eight days on their complaint against the police personnel involved in the assault. The pregnant woman, who is the eldest sister, said that she kept telling the policeman that she’s expecting.
“But they hit me on the stomach. I had a miscarriage.” After a week the two police personnel have been booked for assault. To make matters even worse many have openly come out in support of the accused police personnel. It is disturbing to note that this news has not generated much of an outrage. A pregnant woman was tortured that lead to the loss of her baby. Was it because the victim was a Muslim woman? People who are generally concerned about empowering Muslim women are silent when the same Muslim women are victims of communal violence.
Be it riots or lynchings women are easy targets to torture and abuse but sadly, this doesn’t generate the needed outrage in the feminist groups. Sahista Pervez, wife of Tabrez Ansari, the lynched victim, threatened to sit on a fast-unto-death after the police dropped the charges against the accused contending that Tabrez had died of a cardiac arrest due to stress and had not died as a result of his injuries. She asserted in her memorandum submitted to the district’s top two officials. “I need a copy of autopsy reports as well as medical records for my next course of action”.
These are real stories where the victims are fighting for justice. These women need support and solidarity in their fight for justice. The concern shown on issues like Triple Talaq is missing here or is not as much as expected. While the media ran endless debates for days on Triple Talaq, completely ignored these stories. Another such incident occurred where the principal in a college in UP was shouting and not letting female students inside the college because they were wearing burka. The girls were requesting him to allow them to remove the burka inside the college but their pleas fell on deaf ears and they were asked to go to the bus stand to remove their burkas.
This was clearly a discriminatory act by the college under the guise of rules but again, we saw no outrage against such discrimination. Looks like the only issue that generates outrage is Triple Talaq while any other discrimination against Muslim women goes unnoticed. Majority who were enthusiastic about the Triple Talaq Bill, their eagerness to be the “saviours” of Muslim women was well put out on the media, but when it comes to rape, hate crimes and discrimination against Muslim women, people choose to be silent. Don’t you think these women need your support & solidarity? Aren’t these issues relevant?
If you all are eager to speak on one issue but are silent on other issues faced by the marginalised, what message does that convey? Women have always been the worst affected at times of riots, conflicts and wars. They pay a heavy price for no fault of their’s; their sufferings are seen as collateral damage in the larger picture. It is imperative for other women to stand by them, fight for them or at least show solidarity with them. Feminism is not merely about equality but is as much as about justice.
As Benjamin Franklin rightly said, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are“. We can’t be selective in our fight for justice & equality. If your fight is limited to only a section and doesn’t cover all the marginalised, the idea itself is discriminatory.
Courtesy : Feminism in India