muslim women

There has been a nationwide outpouring of condemnation, following the announcement yesterday by Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of Minority Affairs, declaring Aug 1 as ‘Muslim Women’s Rights Day’ to mark the anniversary of the Triple Talaq law.

Over 650 citizens – Muslim and non-Muslim women, men and trans persons, women rights activists, human rights activists, academics, students and hundreds of citizens across from across India have issued a strong statement today.

The statement condemns and rejects this cynical optics of using Muslim women’s rights, in the face of an unprecedented onslaught against the rights of the Muslims in recent years under the present government. It voices strong opposition to declaring 1 August as Muslim Women’s Rights Day, calling it the celebration of a law that is fundamentally anti-minority, anti-women, anti-constitutional, and seeks only to disparage the Muslim community.

The text of the full statement and signatories is given below.

Citizens’ Statement: August 1, 2021





And we say, respectfully, “How dare you!”


This government that has worked to ceaselessly one by one, decimate the constitutional rights of Muslims in India, now has the temerity to declare Muslim Women’s Rights Day on August 1. This, to celebrate its passage of its purportedly Anti-Triple Talaq law (Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019), that claimed to protect Muslim women’s rights, but in reality, had a more sinister purpose – to show Muslim men their place in a new India. To tell them that they can be criminalized even in civil matters. The Triple Talaq law was an abomination. It was then, and still is, nothing but a charade. Because no such law was needed to “protect Muslim women, or secure their rights” since the Supreme Court had already struck the Triple Talaq down. So, we voiced our opposition when the law was passed in Parliament in 2019, stating that – “You cannot pretend to save Muslim women while seeking to bring the Muslim community to its knees.” The sentiment is as true today as it was then.

This government has diluted Muslims’ rights to citizenship by enacting the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA). The very Muslim women, in whose name you have declared August 1 as a day of “their rights” invited their government, even begged their government, to talk to them when they were out on the streets, protesting the CAA-NPR-NRC, in a desperate bid to save their future, their children’s future, their family’s future, in their own country. You responded to those Muslim women with the utter contempt of silence. Without even the pretence of democratic dialogue.

This government instead mercilessly arrested those who protested the CAA-NRC-NPR under anti-terror laws like UAPA. It jailed Muslim women who dared to take to their streets to protect their rights to citizenship. It has deprived Muslim women of their youthful children, who languish today in jails. It has deprived Muslim women of husbands, who are incarcerated. It has placed in detention centres Muslim women, men, children and transpersons who could not produce “citizenship papers” in Assam.

This government has remained silent as Muslims have been lynched, and its leaders have garlanded the lynchers. The BJP both at the centre and through its state governments, has determinedly “gone after” Muslims under myriad laws, both old, new and proposed – beef bans, anti-conversion, including the recent Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020, and its proposed U.P. Population Control Bill. It has systematically tried to rob Muslims of their right to livelihood, and Muslim women of their agency.

This government has remained silent as men exhorted mobs to rape Muslim women (most recently in Pataudi). It has remained silent, without a single comment, tweet or tear, as Muslim women’s bodies have become the object of “Sulli Deals” by right wing online mobs.

Such a government has no moral right to declare any national day in the name of Muslim women.

We collectively, as citizens of India – Muslim and non-Muslim women, men and trans persons across castes and regions – reject the cynical optics of a “Muslim Women’s Rights Day” by a government intent on reducing all Muslims to second-class citizens.

What we demand is the release of Gulfisha Fatima and Ishrat Jahan, both Muslim women, from unjust incarceration. On behalf of Sabiha Ilyas, a Muslim woman, we demand the release of her son, Umar Khalid from unjust incarceration. On behalf of Nargis Saifi, a Muslim woman, we demand the release of her husband Khalid Saifi from unjust incarceration. On behalf of Afshan Rahim, a Muslim woman, we demand the release of her son, Sharjeel Imam from unjust incarceration. On behalf of Fatima Nafees, a Muslim woman, we ask you to find her son, Najeeb. On behalf of Raihanath Kappan, a Muslim woman, we ask you to release her husband, Siddique Kappan from incarceration. On behalf of Ayesha Sultana, a Muslim woman, charged with sedition for stating that officials must follow Covid protocols in Lakshadweep, we ask you to unconditionally drop all charges. On behalf of Safoora Zargar, a Muslim woman, we ask that she, like all other Muslim activists, lawyers, journalists, students, be freed of the false and malicious cases filed against them by this government. There is a long such list, Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

After you have done that, please then sit with us. With all of us, Muslim and Non-Muslim women, men and transpersons, who believe in our democracy and its promise of equality. And then we can discuss that appropriate day of ‘declaration’ in the future, when Muslim women feel their rights are secure, and they want the whole nation to celebrate their rightful and visible place in this democracy.

We are,


Farah NaqviDelhiWriter & Activist 
Syeda HameedDelhiMuslim Women’s Forum 
Aruna RoyDevdoongri, RajasthanMKSS 
Ayesha KidwaiDelhiProfessor, JNU 
Mohini GiriNew DelhiGuild of service 
Poonam KaushikDelhiGeneral Secretary Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan Delhi 
Hasina KhanMumbaiBebaak Collective 
Teesta SetalvadMumbaiIndependent 
Kavita KrishnanDelhiAIPWA 
Annie RajaKeralaNational Federation of Indian Women 
Kavita SrivastvaJaipurPUCL 
Rushda SiddiquiNew DelhiNFIW 
Smita GuptaNew DelhiEconomist and Activist 
Chayanika ShahMumbaiForum Against Oppression of Women 
Meera SanghamitraHyderabadNational Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) 
Jayati GhoshNorthamptonUniversity of Massachusetts at Amherst USA 
A.SuneethaHyderabadWomen and Transgender Joint Action 
Shabnam HashmiDelhiANHAD 
Abha BhaiyyaHimachalJagori Grameen 
Meena Saraswathi SeshuSangliVidhrohi Mahila Manch 
Sehba FarooquiDelhiAIDWA Delhi 
SAHELI Women’s Resource CentreNew Delhi NCRFeminist activists 
Sharifa SiddiquiSecunderabadHyderabad Muslim Women’s Forum 
Lara JesaniMumbaiPeople’s Union for Civil Liberties 
Arundhati DhuruLucknowNAPM 
AparnaDelhiPresident, National Committee, IFTU 
Apeksha PriyadarshiniNEW DELHIBhagat Singh Ambedkar Students Organization, JNU 
Nivedita MenonDelhiJNU 
Zoya HasanDelhiProfessor Emerita, Jawaharlal Nehru University 
Khalida ParveenHyderabadAmoomat Society 
Tara RaiMumbaiThe Feminist Collective 
Admiral L RamdasAlibagFormer Chief of Naval Staff 
Nikhat FatimaHyderabadJournalist, civil rights activist 
Navsharan SinghNoidaWriter and activist 
Nisha BiswasKolkataFeminists in Resistance 
Prof. Mohan RaoBangaloreJan Swasthya Abhiyan 
Anjali BhardwajDelhiSNS 
Amrita JohriNew DelhiSNS 
Mariam DhawaleNew DelhiAll India Democratic Women’s Association 
M. Maqbool AhmedHyderabadUnited Citizens’ Forum 
Nandini SundarDelhiSociologist 
Bhasha SinghDelhiJournalist 
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Shubhangi ShuklaDev doongri, RajasthanMKSS 
Renuka PamechaJaipurWomens Rahbailiation Group 
Mamta JaitlyJaipurVividha, Women’s Documentation and Resource Centre 
Vijay Lakshmi JoshiJaipurPUCL, Jaipur 
Tishna SenapatyJaipurPUCL, Rajasthan 
Komal SrivastavaJaipurBGVS 
Sarla Kumari YadavJaipurPUCL Jaipur 
Sister carolAjmerPUCL, Ajmer 
Anita ChaudharyJaipurPUCL, Jaipur 
Pragnya JoshiRaniwada, JalorePUCL, Rajasthan 
Dr. Shikha KapurNew DelhiAcademic 
Tara AhluwaliaBhilwaraPUCL, Bhilwara 
Lata SinghJaipurPUCL Jaipur 
Meeta singhJaipurPUCL Jaipur 
Akhil ChaudaryJaipurPUCL, Jaipur 
Mewa BhartiJaipurRajasthan Mahila Kamgaar Union 
Pushpa SainiJaipurWomen’s Rehabilitation Group 
Shabnam AzizJaipurPUCL, Jaipur 
Suman DevathiyaJaipurWomen’s Right to Fight 
Meena GuptaSecunderabadIndependent 
Ranjita BiswasKolkataIndependent 
Kiran BangaNew DelhiIndependent 
Dr Surinder JaipalLudhianaPunjab Women Collective 
Muhammad TMumbaiPh.D. candidate 
Walter FernandesGuwahatiNESRC 
M R KidwaiNew DelhiIndependent 
Nivedita JhaPatnaBihar Mahila Samaj 
Nisha SidhuJaipurNFIW 
Meenakshi BindoriyaJaipurNFIW 
Isha SharmaJaipurNFIW 
Sumitra ChopraJaipurAIDWA 
Kusum SaiwalJaipurAIDWA 
Seema JainBikanerAIDWA 
Durga SwamiSri GangangangarAIDWA 
Chandrakala VermaHanumangarhAIDWA 
Neha MeghwalJodhpurAIDWA 
Tara GhayalSikarAIDWA 
Shrikanta ShrimaliUdaipurAIDWA 
Asis Kumar DasDankuni, HooghlySocial Activist 
Irfan EngineerMumbaiInstitute of Islamic Studies 
Sunita SheelPuneIndependent 
Dipa SinhaDelhiIndependent 
Aysha KhanDelhiRight to Food Campaign 
Bhanwar MeghwanshiBhilwara, Mandal, BhilwaraPUCL 
MadhuriBadwani, MPJADS 
Anuradha TalwarWest BengalPBKMS 
SindhuJaipurSamta Manch 
Ashima Roy ChowdhuryNew Delhi NCRFeminist activist 
Zaheda SarwarJaunpur,U.P.Independent 
Jaya SharmaDelhiIndependent 
Meenakshi SanyalDelhiIndependent 
Swapna BanerjeeDelhiIndependent 
Sanchita MukherjeeDelhiIndependent 


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