A 24-year-old Hyderabad woman has alleged that her husband, a Somalia national, having US citizenship, gave her triple talaq over phone without any reasons and appealed to the Centre to intervene in the issue.
The woman, Saba Fatima, a resident of Chandrayangutta, filed a complaint against her 40-year-old husband, Abdi Wali Ahmed who is currently residing in Boston. Subsequently, a case under the Muslim Woman (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 was registered against Ahmed at women’s police station in the old city of Hyderabad on Thursday.
In a letter addressed to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, the woman, who lives with her father requested an intervention into the matter and help get her justice. She stated that she had married the Somalia national on 25 January 2015 while he was studying in Hyderabad. The marriage was registered with the Telangana Waqf Board, and the wedding rituals were performed as per Islamic laws.
The couple lived at a rented home in Tolichowki, and later at Malakpet in Hyderabad briefly. Later, Ahmed left for Boston in the US and was in touch with her. Fatima claimed that her husband used to work as a driver in Boston. Since then, he used to visit Hyderabad every six months and had last visited her in February this year. However, on October 6, he divorced after saying, triple talaq three times over the phone.
“Ahmed called my father from Boston, and asked where I was, my father answered, that I was sitting next to him. He then issued a triple talaq with my father as a witness. I need help from the government, I went to the police station, but didn’t get any help. I am appealing to the government to help get me justice,” said Fatima.
Fatima also reached out to her mother-in-law in Dubai, and her sister-in-law in London, who was at first sympathetic and willing to help resolve the issue but later stopped attending her phone calls.
“My mother-in-law, who lives in Dubai, and my sister-in-law, who stays in London assured me of justice but later they blocked my number. Hence, I request you to interfere in this matter and help me get justice,” read the letter written by Fatima to MEA.
She further requested the External Affairs Ministry to ask the Indian Embassy in the US to speak to her husband and settle the matter as soon as possible as there is no one to look after her and she cannot re-marry without any authentic divorce papers.
Instant triple talaq under which a Muslim man can divorce his wife by uttering the word talaq three times has been a controversial practice that is outlawed even in some Islamic countries.
Despite opposition from various Islamic groups, the Parliament in July 2019, passed Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019, which criminalized instant triple talaq among Muslims. The bill got the presidential assent in August.
Thereafter, although the number of incidents has come down drastically ever since triple talaq was made a punishable act, such cases continue to be reported from across the country, often for petty reasons.