An elderly, ailing Muslim lady in West Bengal is being harassed by local villagers and Islamic clerics who passed a fatwa penalizing her and demanding that she break all ties with her daughter who married a Hindu man.
As per a report in Bengali news outlet Jugasankha, Turni Kashmira from Purba Bardhaman district of West Bengal got married to a Hindu boy named Koushik Mandal from the same district four years back. The couple have a minor son. They work in a private organisation and live in Bardhaman town in a tenement.
At first, Kashmira’s mother Sufia Begum did not acknowledge their marriage. But after about one year she relented and gave them her blessings.
Recently, the health of old Sufia Begum deteriorated. Her daughter Kashmira came with her Hindu husband to see her at her village home. Ever since, the elderly woman has been facing harassment by local busybodies who have ostracized her. Local clerics have passed a fatwa (ruling as per Muslim sharia law) that she should end all ties with her daughter for marrying a Hindu man. Sufia Begum was also fined Rs. 10,000, and a fine of Rs. 6,000 was announced on anybody who kept in touch with her.
Shockingly, her own family including her son, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and other relatives have all abandoned her and did not oppose the fatwa. As a result, old Sufia Begum has written her grievance to the district magistrate.
Kashmira and her Hindu husband said, “In the Hadiya case, Supreme Court said in its observation it is nobody’s business what somebody else wears, believes in or who they marry. Though apex court of the country has made it clear, some busybodies of our village enforced a medieval fatwa against my marriage.” Kashmira’s mother Sufia Begum hopes that the district magistrate will take necessary steps in this regard.
Such a vicious backlash over the relatively rare phenomenon of a Hindu man marrying a Muslim woman is par for the course in West Bengal and elsewhere. Last year, Hindu professor Soumik Das teaching at NIT Durgapur lodged a complaint after his Muslim wife, also a professor, was abducted by his in-laws soon after their marriage. The professor received death threats to convert to Islam or divorce his wife.
In 2017, one Sourav Mondal was attacked and severely injured for marrying a Muslim girl. That same year, one Bibekananda Barik married Nasrin Khatun in WB – the couple had to flee to Gujarat after receiving threats from the girl’s family. On a trip back to WB, the police dragged the girl away from her in-laws’ house where she was visiting. In Meerut, UP, a Hindu man was abducted and forcefully circumcised by a maulana (Muslim cleric) for marrying a Muslim woman 10 years back.
All these cases involve consensual marriage between mature, adult individuals, without any coercion or forced conversion through an organized mafia. In Hadiya’s case, there was clear involvement of a dangerous radical Islamic organisation PFI in converting the girl to Islam – yet, high-powered lawyers like Kapil Sibal, Indra Jaising and Dushyant Dave represented PFI in Supreme Court and SC passed an order in favor of the conversion and marriage.
Will the same civil society cabal stand up for Turni Kashmira and her beleaguered mother Sufia Begum?
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