A 35-year-old Kerala man who is employed in the perfumery sector in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has been booked by the Karnataka Police for divorcing his wife through a WhatsApp message pronouncing triple talaq recently.
The woman had been staying at her parents’ house in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka since their second child was born nine months ago.
Mohammed Rashid, a native of Kodungalluru in the Thrissur district of Kerala, was booked by the Dakshina Kannada’s Sullia Circle police under Section 4 of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act of 2019, which defines punishment for pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband.
He was also booked under Sections 506 (criminal intimidation) and 504 (intentional insult that provokes breach of peace) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Now 31, Nefisathal Misiriya had an arranged marriage solemnised in the presence of their community elders and both sides of their families on 8 September, 2016.
“My husband used to be a good human being, literally coming to my rescue every time there were minor quarrels at home between his mother, sisters, and me,” recalled Misiriya.
“I had gone with him to Abu Dhabi for a year on a visiting visa. Our elder daughter was enrolled in a school there. However, as I got pregnant with our second child, he brought me back to my parents’ house in Sullia, where I delivered our younger daughter. She is only nine months old now,” she told South First.
“It all began when my husband started falling ill frequently. He experienced stomach cramps and complained of fever often. My husband’s family approached a few community elders, who suggested an Islamic astrologer, but this person could not detect what was wrong,” she recounted.
“However, my husband’s family then consulted an astrologer from another religion, and he accused me of indulging in witchcraft against my husband,” Misiriya told South First.
Rashid and his family members started to believe that this was the cause of his illness, and that it could even cost his life if proper decisions were not taken at the right time.
The police complaint
From then on, frequent quarrels used to happen between Rashid and Misiriya. In her complaint to the police, she stated that she was constantly taunted, abused, threatened, and harassed by her husband and his family to get separated.
Misiriya said she used to get blamed every time Rashid had a bout of ill-health, even while he was working abroad. It was torture for her, she told South First.
Despite all this, Misiriya said, she was hopeful that their marriage would stay strong. That was why she continued to keep in touch with him over the phone.
“I was prepared to get a passport made for my newborn baby girl to head to Abu Dhabi, but before that, things started getting ugly,” Misiriya told South First. “I am a postgraduate with an MEd. However, my husband and his family told me not to seek employment as he was earning enough.”
In June this year, Misiriya got a WhatsApp message, in which Rashid was heard pronouncing “talaq-talaq-talaq”.
He also messaged her that he did not want her anymore, and asked her to do whatever she wanted with her life, she said in her complaint.
Shocked and confused, Misiriya shared her ordeal with her parents, who took her to the community elders at a local mosque in Sullia, who confirmed that it was indeed talaq and that she had been separated from her husband according to Islamic tradition.
Unable to digest the developments, Misiriya approached the Sullia police on 16 September and filed a complaint against Rashid.
The cops promptly registered an FIR, booking Rashid for triple talaq, – which has been criminalised according to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act of 2019.
“Now I am left with two daughters to care for. There is no job and no husband,” Misiriya told South First.