Talaq…Talaq…Talaq ended a five-year marriage at Khakhoda village in west UP’s Meerut on 3 May. But this time, it was not the husband who took the liberty to “end” the relationship. In a first of its kind, a wife took the step by resolutely uttering ‘talaq, talaq, talaq’. To top it all off, the saga ended in the office of the Inspector General of Police, Meerut Zone.
Harassment for Dowry
With great pomp and show, way back in March 2012, sisters Rubina and Salma (names changed) residents of Kharkhoda, were married to two brothers, Sabir and Sakir, alias Samir, residents of Ladpur village under Bhawanpur police station of the district. Rubina and Salma’s parents gifted a Hunk motorcycle to Sabir and a three-wheeler tempo to Sakir as stree dhan.
They also spent about Rs 10 lakh for the weddings. But as fate would have it, trouble soon ensued. Sabir and Sakir started demanding a dowry of Rs 5 lakh from the family of Rubina and Salma. Besides the dowry demand, Rubina was made the target of disparaging remarks for being physical challenged.
“It all started immediately after our marriage. They would tease my physically challenged elder sister Rubina, who was married to Sabir. She would be addressed as langdi. If I resisted, my shauhar (husband) would physically assault me,” says Salma.
Filing a Complaint
This was not the end for Rubina and Salma, who had become mothers to a son and daughter, respectively. Two-and-a-half-years after their marriage, their marital life only went downhill. In November 2015, the sisters were given an ultimatum: get the Rs 5 lakh dowry or leave the marital home. Rubina and Salma chose the latter.
However, they took the precaution to lodge a complaint at the women’s police station on 23 November 2015, followed by a demand for maintenance at the Meerut family court. By the time the alimony case could begin, the brothers managed a compromise and agreed to continue with their respective marital relationships.
Speaking to The Quint, Rubina said, “After a son and a daughter were born to Salma, her in-laws started torturing us mentally and physically. It was all for money and more money.”
Rubina to The QuintWe had no option but to leave our in-laws and return to our parental homes. But we were clear about our next moves. There was a lot of pressure from the family and society. We were made to understand that a compromise will work and return to our sasural. As it turned out, both of us returned and a compromise petition was filed in court on 2 December 2015.
Alleged Torture by Parents-in-Law
The court compromise started a new chapter in the lives of the two sisters. They bade time, seeking to take legal action against the brothers. But the unexpected happened. Salma was “victimised” by accusations of having a relationship with Sakir. Any attempt to seek redress before the parents-in-law would be followed by physical assaults by the latter. In the process, Salma suffered a miscarriage, besides serious internal wounds.
“I pleaded for help from my saas (mother-in-law) and sasur (father-in-law) even when I had to endure their son’s violence. But my father-in-law kicked me in my stomach. As a result, I suffered miscarriage and internal injuries. I was also asked to keep my mouth shut or face the consequences,” Salma revealed.
By the time things could normalise, it was Rubina’s turn to face insults. Like Salma, she too was “victimised” physically and sexually. It is alleged that Rubina’s husband “instructed” her brother to “have forcible sexual relations” with her.
“It was the end of the world for me. The last thing which could happen was physical assault. I was raped by my devar (brother-in-law) at knifepoint. I cried for help but nobody offered any. My sister tried to stop both my husband and devar but she was beaten up badly,” Rubina said.
Will Rubina Get Justice?
The sisters have now lodged a complaint against both the brothers. But this has not stirred the Kharkhoda police to act. The victims then approached Meerut Zone IGP Ajay Anand for justice, but he simply forwarded the complaint to the police station concerned. Police sources said that Anand did not want to get personally involved in a case arising out of marital discord.
But with the police unable – or unwilling – to act, Sakir “pronounced” talaq, talaq, talaq to Salma. In retaliation, Rubina decided to take talaq from Sabir for assaulting them and taking talaq from Salma.
“It cannot happen all the time that the men act casually, and as per their convenience, give talaq. We also have equal right to do this. Therefore, let an example be set that a woman can also give talaq to her shauhar” Rubina said.
Rubina may have acted, but will she get justice when sharia laws don’t permit a woman to pronounce talaq? According to Mufti Aayun, “The wife at any cost cannot give talaq to her husband. Only men have the right to give talaq in sharia law. Even if she wants to go ahead with talaq, she could seek her right of justice from a sharia court. The only remedy or shortcut available with the wife is to strike a deal, such as giving her meher or apply pressure on her husband.”
(The writer is a Meerut-based freelance journalist.)