Won’t solemnise weddings without proof of toilets, declare Muslim imams in northern India

In a unique move, over 1,200 Muslim imams in India’s northern Haryana state declare that they will not solemnise a wedding without proofs of toilets at the residences of prospective brides and grooms.

MEWAT, HARYANA, INDIA (FEBRUARY 11, 2017) (ANI) – In a unique move, over 1,200 Muslim imams in India’s northern Haryana state declared on Saturday (February 11) that they will not solemnise a wedding without proofs of toilets at the residences of prospective brides and grooms.

A council of 1,200 Muslim imams from 110 villages of Mewat district announced that brides and grooms would have to produce certificates from their respective village chiefs, verifying that they have toilets at their houses, for the imams to conduct the wedding.

“We have decided that if the residence of the bride or of the groom does not have proper toilets or bathrooms or urinals, we will not read the wedding ceremony,” said a Muslim imam, Yahae Karim.

Karim added that the council also resolved to abstain from weddings where liquor was served or loud music was played.

India’s 1.2 billion people include 175 million Muslims and constitute the third-largest Muslim population in the world.

The United Nations said in May 2014 that half of India’s people defecate outside – putting people at risk of cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid.

Locals welcomed the decision of compulsory toilets for weddings.

A local, Moeen Khan, said that such a move would help in reducing crimes against women as well as boost Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Clean India’ initiative.

“Toilets are compulsory for all residences, as you know that it is unsafe for our women to go out for urinals. And due to the lack of urinals, rape cases are also rising. It also keeps the surroundings clean. Even Modi (Narendra Modi) has started the initiative of toilets for all homes,” said Khan.

Many women in rural India must walk long distances from their homes to access sanitation facilities, leaving them vulnerable to sexual assaults.

India’s shortage of toilets costs the country more than $50 billion a year, mostly through premature deaths and hygiene-related diseases, according a World Bank study. India suffers a greater cost than other Asian countries from the poor collection of human excreta, the study found.

Since taking office, Modi has repeatedly lamented the poor state of sanitation and public cleanliness in India, vowing to solve the problems during his tenure of five years.