Civil rights and women’s groups in Rajasthan issue statement condemning the verbal attack and opposition meted out to the two women Qazis by Muslim organisations such as All India Muslim Personal law Board and the Jamaat-e- Islami Hind. Meanwhile. Darul-Uloom Deoband, the leading Islamic seminary, has defended the two Muslim women
Full text of the statement;
Women and Social organisations of Rajasthan are outraged at the manner in which various individuals and organisations have come out against Qazi Afroza Begum and Qazi Jahanara, who have trained themselves for two years in Mumbai’s Darul Uloom -I- Niswan, and have begun working as Qazis in the city. We would like to condemn this opposition and attack, which is being led by the All India Muslim Personal law Board, Jamiatul-Ulame-Hind, the Jamait Islami Hind, the chairperson of the Rajasthan Madarsa Board, Anjum Educational Welfare Society, Taiba Social Welfare Society, Chief Qazi of Rajasthan, Jaipur Mufti and others, who have not even spared Nishat Hussien of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Aandolan, who facilitated the training of these women.
The opposition and attack of the two Qazis by the self professed Muslim religious establishment and the various agencies is not acceptable, as women in India of all religions are equal to men under Article 14 and under Article 19 have the right to undertake any religious studies
But it is their right under Article 25 where they are equally entitled to freely practice, profess and propagate their religion, this subsumes their right to choose to become Qazis. How can their right to propagate and practice Islam by becoming Qazis be denied. We would also like to highlight that the religion of Islam encourages diverse interpretation and therefore they too have the right to be Qazis.
We request the above organisations and individuals to stop this opposition and let the two Qazis do their job as it adheres to the fundamental right of equality, freedom of speech and expression and the right to equally practice, profess and propagate religion.
We would also like the media to hold restraint during their broadcast of the viewpoints which are denying this right to the women, as the discussion in some channels went to the point of humiliating the women Qazis as well as the organisation they belong.
Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Shanker Singh, MKSS Rajasthan
Kavita Srivastava and Anant Bhatnagar, PUCL Rajasthan
Renuka Pamecha Women’s Rehabilitation Group
Mamta Jaitly, Vividha : Women’s Documentatio and Resource Centre
Dr. Pawan Surana & Lad Kumari Jain (both former chairperson State women’s commission), Rajasthan University Women’s Association
Nisha Sidhu, Dr. Malti Gupta and Raj Kumari Dogra National Federation of Indian Women
Komal Srivastava, Bharat Gyan vigyan Samiti, Rajasthan
Sumitra Chopra and Kusum Saiwal, AIDWA
Indira Pancholi, Bhanwari Bai, Karuna Mahila Jan Adhikar Samiti, Ajmer
Tara Ahluwalia Mahila evam Bal Chetna Samiti, Bhilwara
Mewa Bharti,Domestic Workers Union
Rakhi, CFAR, RAjasthan
Dr. Meeta Singh, Vijay Lakshmi Joshi and Kapil Sankhla PUCL, Jaipur District
Suman Devathia All India Dalit Mahila Manch, Rajasthan
Asha Kalra, Children and woman welfare society
Bharat, Vishakha: women’s documentation and resouce centre
Anita Mathur and Apurwa Azad Foundation, Jaipur
Shabnam Aziz and Virendra Shrimali,The Hunger Project
Narendra, Action Aid Collective
Kanchan Mathur and Shobhita Rajagopal, IDS, Jaipur
Chhaya Pachauli and Narendra Gupta, Prayas, Chittorgarh
Pragnya Joshi, PUCL, Dungarpur
Sister Geeta, PUCL, Ajmer