Muslim woman in southern India ‘divorced’ over WhatsApp

A Muslim woman in India’s southern Hyderabad city claims she was divorced by her husband, who lives in the United States, over WhatsApp.

HYDERABAD, TELANGANA, INDIA (MARCH 05, 2017) (ANI) – A Muslim woman in India’s southern Hyderabad city on Sunday (March 05) claimed she was divorced by her husband, who lives in the United States, over WhatsApp, even as the debate over a ban on the Muslim personal law rages in the country.

According to local media reports, Mehreen Noor registered a police complaint against her in-laws, who reportedly threw her out of the house. Noor, who has not received any document, says this is not valid under the Islamic law.

Noor, who married Hussain Quraishi in April 2015, said her husband changed his profile picture on Whatsapp showing ‘Talaq’ (Urdu word for divorce) word thrice and also sent her messages stating the same.

“I received a message- ‘Talaq Talaq Talaq, everything is finished now’ and received other similar messages. I stopped talking to him as it was not my fault, unnecessarily he texted me on WhatsApp. We also asked our relatives, who visited clergy to ask whether it (divorce) is possible through WhatsApp. (He said) It is happening these days,” said Noor.

Meanwhile, Noor’s sister-in-law, Syeda Hina Fatima, also received divorce paper through a local courier service in a similar manner six months ago.

“(My) Mother visited my in-laws residence where they informed her that your daughter has been divorced and they have sent their son to the US,” said Fatima.

Fatima married Quraishi’s elder brother Syed Fayazuddin on February 08, 2013. Fayazuddin is also based in the US. According to media reports, Fatima has also lodged a complaint against her in-laws.

The Indian constitution allows most religions, including Muslims – the biggest religious minority group – to regulate matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance through their own civil code.

Women’s rights activists say the “triple talaq” practice – which allows Muslim men an instant divorce with Muslim women being divorced via Facebook, Skype and text message – is unconstitutional because it violates the right to equality.

However, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), a non-governmental body which oversees the application of Muslim personal law, opposes any ban on triple talaq and polygamy.

Muslims make up 13 percent of the country’s 1.2 billion population, yet government data show they are among some of the most excluded and marginalised communities.