Shabnam Rani, who filed a petition against the discriminatory practice of nikah halala and polygamy in the Supreme Court, was attacked with acid in Bulandshahr, UP, on Thursday. Reports say that her brother-in-law threw acid on her a day after she was assaulted at her in-laws’ house. She was preparing to go to the police station to file a complaint against the assault when her brother-in-law allegedly threw acid on her face.

Rani, who is originally from Delhi, got married eight years ago. After some time, he divorced her through triple talaq. Later, he wanted to take her back, so he forced her to have nikah halala with her brother-in-law. Frustrated, she filed a petition in Supreme Court against these practices.

Nikah halala is a traditional Islamic practice in which, if a couple who have earlier undergone divorce, want to get back together, then the woman has to marry another man, consummate the wedding and then break it. Only then, can she come back to her previous husband.

Talking about Rani’s case, Laxmi Agarwal, who is an acid attack survivor herself and now runs an NGO to counsel other survivors, said, “Most of the crimes that happen with women actually happen inside the house. Women aren’t even safe in their own homes because of the male ego, which men in the patriarchal society thrive upon. As soon as a woman starts to recognize her right, men who live in a conservative environment and have grown up thinking women are below men, want to curb the woman’s voice.”

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“Our Indian society also faces other problems like we tend to forgive men who commit such heinous crimes. There are so many cases where attackers have moved ahead in their lives and their families got them married to some women. We need to take stricter actions against such men and not let them go freely.”

Most of the crimes that happen with women actually happen inside the house. Women aren’t even safe in their own homes because of the male ego, which men in the patriarchal society thrive upon. As soon as a woman starts to recognize her right, men who live in conservative environment and have grown up thinking women are below men, want to curb the woman’s voice

Supporting Agarwal’s argument, Muslim activist Zeenat Shaukat Ali also said that even when we have strict laws to fight against such injustice, the actual justice in such cases seldom reaches the survivor. While it is important to talk more and spread awareness about these crimes, we also need to take unforgiving actions so that such people fear committing such crimes.”

It is a challenge for Muslim women to battle such biased traditions. Rani’s is not the only case where a petitioner had to suffer such a grave crime for filing petition. Farzana, who is from Sikandrabad, UP, allegedly faced an attack by armed assailants last week. Farzana was with her brother when the attack happened. Her brother was grievously injured and is in an extremely critical condition.

Farzana had been getting threat calls for some time now. She has complained about the attack and the threat calls to the police.

Picture credit- Indian Express

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