Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Muslim women put forth a manifesto against hate

The situation in the country is worrying, more so for Muslims and Dalits. This has led several Muslim women to come together under Bebaak Collective to release a manifesto against hate

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Muslim women put forth a manifesto against hate
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NH Web Desk

“Ever since the BJP government has come to power, Muslim women have been troubled. First there was the triple talaq. They used Muslim women to polarise the community. They passed the Triple Talaq ordinance without waiting for Rajya Sabha to pass the Bill? What was their reason? Is it their intention to put Muslim men behind bars? Is that what social change is?” questions Saba Khan from Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch.

The situation in the country is worrying, more so for minorities including Muslims and Dalits. This has led several Muslim women working at the grassroots to come together under Bebaak Collective in New Delhi on Wednesday, March 27, to demand their right to live a life without fear. They released their manifesto, which they hope would be included by political parties.

“In Assam too, under the garb of National Register of Citizens, it is the Muslims who are targeted and the ones who face the brunt the most are the women. Ever since BJP came to power in Assam in 2016, several voters have been declared as Doubtful voter (D-voter). What is a D-voter? Either you are a citizen, or you are not. If the person is not a citizen, then the person should be sent back to Bangladesh or which ever country they come from, instead of putting them in detention centres for years,” pointed out activist Rehna from Assam. Narrating examples of several pregnant women who lost their lives and sometimes their children after being put in these detention centres, Rehna said that their demand this election is the removal of detention centres.

One of their major concerns was the lack of educational access and support for Muslims. They have pointed out that though Muslims make up 14.2% of India’s population, their share of enrollment is only a mere 4.4% in higher institutions.

Highlighting UP Government’s Ghar Wapsi and Love Jihad, activist Hasina Khan said hateful rhetoric is being promoted by the ruling dispensation to escalate segregation, criminalisation and intimidation of religious minorities.

The members of the Bebaak collective have put forth the following demands:

  • The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019 must be scrapped.
  • The practice of Female Genital Mutilation is an illegal and inhumane practice that is being perpetuated in India under the name of religion and tradition. It must be unequivocally abolished.
  • Include gender-just laws in Muslim Personal Laws; consult primary stakeholders before implementation of such laws.
  • In the light of #MeToo campaign, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 must be amended to extend the period of filing complaints.
  • The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 should be sent to the screening committee, and re-drafted.
  • Affirmative action should be extended to Muslims, and 10 percent reservation for Muslims in higher education and government jobs needs to be provided.
  • Equal Opportunity Commission as indicated by the Sachar Committee Report should be implemented to look into the grievances of marginalised groups.
  • The budget allocation for the welfare of minority communities across sectors should be increased.
  • Reopen cases of 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, offer protection to the witnesses and punish perpetrators of violence.
  • Introduce a Communal Violence Bill to bring (state) sponsors and perpetrators to justice; the State must take responsibility for the acts of communal violence and systemic targeting of Muslims and other marginalized persons.
  • All anti-conversion laws should be scrapped, and the government should adopt a proactive approach to stop the rhetoric of gharwapsi and love jihad, which threaten the right to freedom of religion.
  • The current government is trying to rewrite the history of natural sciences through the lens of Hindutva. This has led to distancing of young generation from the actual principles and theories of science and social sciences. The curriculum should be designed by an independent panel of academicians and experts.
  • Recognise the historical contribution of Muslims to the country and undo their systematic erasure from academics and the public domain.
  • The government should refrain from its divisive agenda that promotes Hindutva, a ‘Hindu Rastra’ with promises of the tallest Ram statue in Ayodhya, and the promotion of the hinduisation.
  • Aadhar card and biometric data violate our right to privacy, and it should be scrapped.
  • Communal violence has now taken the form of individual targeting by identifiable persons (called as ‘mobs’ to grant impunity by the ruling dispensation). State must take cognizance of these hate crimes, and ensure compensation and legal support to the victims/survivors.
  • The National Register of Citizens Bill (NRC) strips Muslims of their citizenship rights and must be withdrawn.
  • Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Section 124A of the IPC (Sedition) are draconian colonial laws. They violate of our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms and rights. These laws should be abolished as they are used to target minorities and the marginalised.

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