The Bebaak Collective, known for fighting for the rights of Muslim women, has recently released its own manifesto. Grassroot Muslim Women activists from all over the country came together to release their manifesto and charter of demands focusing mainly on gender issues, the Muslim community and their citizenship rights.

The charter of demands includes a total of 37 clauses comprising of three sections divided into gender equality, minority safeguard and citizenship rights. The collective believes women, and especially Muslim women, continue to be the worst affected group. And so the charter states 33% reservation for women to increase their political representation in the Parliament, an increase in budgetary allocations for girls and women, gender-just laws in Muslim Personal Laws, regular sensitization and training programmes for police and other state authorities in dealing with women, gender non-conforming persons, etc.

The charter of demands includes a total of 37 clauses comprising of three sections divided into gender equality, minority safeguard and citizenship rights.

“I have to tell my son – be polite, say adaab. He gets upset with me since he is pursuing a Law degree. He asks me why he has to bow and scrape. In spite of being a social activist, I am scared for my son’s life,” says Rehana Adib who is a social activist from Muzzafarnagar on the rising insecurity among the Muslim community.

Another activist, Sana Contractor, who works with the Centre for Health and Social Justice, appealed, “We need to see this fear from the perspective of health, and how it affects the mental health of Muslims and the opportunities that they lose as a result of it.”

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Talking about why they came up with a focused manifesto prepared by Muslim women, Hasina Khan of Bebaak Collective spoke to SheThePeople.TV. She said, “Women are also a prominent part of the Muslim community so why should Muslim men speak on our behalf and we are talking about the experiences from the grassroots. So we wanted to bring out our challenges belonging to a particular community.”

The current government proposed a bill criminalizing Triple Talaq which was already illegalized by the Supreme Court, but the collective disapproved of it. Even in their manifesto, they have incorporated the demand to include gender-just laws in Muslim Personal Laws; consult primary stakeholders before implementation of such laws.

Nargis, from West Bengal, stressed that while Muslim women want an end to the practice of Triple Talaq, as sending Muslim men to jail for a civil offence will not help them.

Women are also a prominent part of the Muslim community so why should Muslim men speak on our behalf  and we are talking about the experiences from the grassroots. So we wanted to bring out our challenges belonging to a particular community.

Khan also emphasized on the threat to her religion that many in her community have witnessed and felt. One of its demands state, “Communal violence has now taken the form of individual targeting by identifiable persons (called as ‘mobs’ to grant impunity by the ruling dispensation). The state must take cognizance of these hate crimes, and ensure compensation and legal support to the victims/survivors.”

The collective appeals that whichever party wins should take the charter of demands into consideration and involve them in decision-making.

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