Monday, October 23, 2006

Rape Victim
Is An


Muzaffarnagar: The court has given her justice but in the lanes of Muzaffarnagar, Imrana Bibi finds no justice and no support.

Even though her father-in-law Ali Mohammad has been convicted a rapist, in her village, Imrana, today, is an outcast.

Imrana's mother-in-law, Zarifa Bibi, is understandably bitter. She says not only has her husband been framed but the whole world is today on the side of a woman who has is sly and manipulative.

"She has been wanting the property that we have. She just wanted money. Today she has got that money and left all of us bankrupt,” says Zarifa Bibi.

Her sons are as angry at the allegations that got their father into jail.

"I have been married for a longer time than my brother. I have a wife too. But my father has never touched her. Ask any of the women in this house, has my father ever touched them?" says Imrana's brother in law, Noor Mohammad.

For this family to react so aggressively is natural. But even her neighbours are echoing the same thought.

They point out that the entire family slept in the courtyard where the alleged rape took place and if she was raped and had shouted for help, there was no way the neighbours could not have heard her.

In Chartwal village, people like Rayeez Ahmed have branded Imrana an adultress and a liar.
"She has a ‘loose’ character. She had an affair with her brother-in-law as well who would come and spend lots of time with her. This story is all false. She just wanted the property," says Imrana's neighbour, Rayeez Ahmed.

Ostracized, ignored and shunned, there's no support for Imrana Bibi.

Not from her own people and definitely not among the Muslim clergy.

"If she is a true Muslim woman who respects Allah, believes in Islam and the Shariat, she will leave her husband. Otherwise, if she decides she is not a God-fearing Muslim, then what can we say?" says Maulana Mufti Zulfikar from the Shariat court in Muzaffarnagar.

Imrana has been living in her father's house in Kukda village for the last few months. She says if the Darul Uloom of Deoband wants her to leave her husband, she will do so.

There are many explanations to Imrana's story. That is was a property dispute, that she shared an inappropriate relationship with her father-in-law, that she's a wronged woman.

But in the midst of it all, it is the position of the woman in Islamic society that is starkly illustrated.

One would normally be inclined to believe the protestations of her family, except for the fact that this happens all the time in Islamic countries.