“When I met Haneef and his first wife, they seemed to be a good family. They were very cordial and his first wife had told my daughter that she was like a little sister to her. Haneef had told us that he wanted to marry Farheen as he wanted a son. He has two daughters with his first wife,” Farheen’s mother tells TNM.
Little could she have expected that just six days after her daughter was married, a postcard would arrive declaring that the marriage was ended, pronouncing triple talaq.
The Hyderabad South Zone Police arrested Mohammed Haneef on March 31, after his second wife, 26-year-old Farheen Begum filed a complaint alleging that her husband had “harassed and cheated” her.
Farheen had met Haneef through a distant relative sometime in February and got married to him a month later.
Haneef and Farheen were married on March 9. But the very next day, the couple fought over Haneef leaving to visit his first wife’s family.
“Haneef told Farheen that he had to go to his mother-in-law’s house with his first wife and took off the very next day. There were no phone calls or messages from him either. On March 16, Farheen received a postcard in which he had said he was divorcing her by pronouncing triple talaq and there were witness signatures on it as well. He ruined my daughter’s life,” Farheen’s mother narrates.
Farheen filed a complaint with the Bhavi Nagar Police on March 30 and a case was registered under Sections 498, 420 and 417 of the IPC. Haneef has now been remanded to 14-day judicial custody, SI B Ramesh told TNM.
Farheen’s brief marriage may come as a shocker but this is not the first such case of triple talaq pronounced through absurd means that has been reported in Hyderabad.
On March 4, a Hyderabad man, who was working in Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh, sent a triple talaq notice to his wife through an advertisement in an Urdu daily.
The man, Mustaquddin, who works in Alawwal Bank, brought his wife to Riyadh six months after their wedding, which took place in 2015.
Mustaquddin then brought his wife and 10-month-old baby back to her parents’ house in Hyderabad on February 2. He left for Riyadh without informing her. He later published the ad in the Urdu daily, India Today reported.
In March, two women from Hyderabad's Old City area approached the High Court claiming that their husbands had divorced them by pronouncing triple talaq via WhatsApp.
According to media reports, one of the petitioners alleged that she was harassed by her husband and in-laws.
The other petitioner, who has two children, alleged that her husband had been harassing her ever since she had a second girl child.
“These cases have been happening for decades, now women are coming out and filing complaints against their husbands. We have witnessed cases where the women are dropped off at their parents’ homes by their husbands when they become pregnant, and triple talaq pronounced via letters after the babies are born,” says Jameela Nishat, a women’s rights activist and founder of Shaheen Women's Resource and Welfare Association, a Hyderabad-based NGO.
Nishat says that triple talaq is biased and the power rests with the men, which is being misused frequently.
“The process of triple talaq is not followed by anyone now. The real procedure of triple talaq takes nearly seven months,” she clarifies.
Nishat says that men who intend to divorce their wives by pronouncing triple talaq must wait for four menstrual courses after first talaq is pronounced, to see if they change their minds and reconcile.
If the husband is still intent on divorcing his wife after four months, he can pronounce talaq for the second time. He has to wait for another month and only after that can he pronounce talaq for the third time, she explains.
“In 1997, we did a survey in Hyderabad, where 90% of the women expressed that they wanted to change the triple talaq procedure. When we talked to nearly 500 Muslim women in Hyderabad in 2016, they said, that they live in fear and uncertainty. Women feel scared and insecure thinking that, their husbands can divorce them anytime by pronouncing triple talaq,” Jameela explained.
In December 2016, the Allahabad High Court had stated that ‘triple talaq’ was unconstitutional. The High Court had said that the concept violated human rights and that the personal law of any community cannot be placed above the Constitution.
“Only 10% of the Muslim women in Hyderabad are independent enough to take care of themselves. They are educated but are dependent on their family and husband. This makes the women helpless after the talaq. Muslim women should be more independent, stand up for themselves and work towards social and financial security,” Jameela says.