Thursday, June 16, 2005

This is why women's rights and dignity issues are important

Woman ordered to marry rapist

An Indian woman who was allegedly raped by her father-in-law is now being ordered by a Muslim council of community elders to marry him.
The council says under Islamic law the rape has nullified her marriage, according to media reports.

But a top Muslim body in India has rejected the argument saying it is not valid under Sharia (Islamic) law. It says the council was not authorised to give such a verdict and added that the alleged rapist should be punished.

Reports say the 28-year-old woman was raped when she was alone at home in Charthawal, in the norther Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. When the incident came to the notice of the council, it ordered that she marry her father-in-law and change her relationship with her husband to that between a mother and son.

It also ordered her to leave her home and stay away for seven month and 10 days to become "pure".

Police action

A senior police officer, Amrinder Singh Senger, told the BBC that police have now filed a case against the woman's father-in-law . The victim has also been examined by doctors and police have recorded her statement.

India's National Commission of Women has also asked for a report from the government in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where the incident took place.

"We have requested the government to take action against the guilty and also pay compensation to the victim," NCW president Girija Vyas told the BBC.

A representative of a top Muslim body in India, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said the case should be dealt under Islamic law.

"Under the Sharia law, whatever happened with the victim is wrong and if her father-in-law has raped her, he should be sentenced to death," the representative, Zafarab Geelani, said.


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