Dusting out a resolution adopted in 1993, the top Muslim religious body, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), at its recently executive meeting at Ujjain decided to form a full-fledged wing to look into the issues of women.
In the season of paying lips service to and adopting laws to empower women, the board that includes clerics and academics, and constituted to uphold civil code for Muslim community, appointed a committee under Maulana Wali Rahmani, one of its secretaries to work out the modalities.
Clerics largely blamed for their male slant have also emphasized the need to change the mindset of men by inculcating moral values, referring to the recent Delhi gang rape incident.
Earlier, in 2010, the AIMPLB in its Lucknow, session had decided to grant representation to women in the body. Following this decision five women were elected to the 51-member executive body. Till then, Begum Naseem Iqtedar Ali was the only lady representing the board, since its inception in 1973. Other women added in the executive in 2010 are Dr Safia Naseem (Lucknow), Begum Noorjahan Shakeel (Kolkata), Prof Moonisa Bushra Abidi (Mumbai) and Dr. Asma Zehara (Hyderabad).
Insiders told DNA that the issue of granting more representation to women in the top decision-making body was debated furiously. But most of the clerics did not agree, with some of them demanding increasing members of executive council. Therefore, a middle path was suggested - to dust out the 1993 resolution and instead of granting women more representation in the decision making body, constitute a separate wing for them.
“It is a positive move that could help understanding gender concerns in the Muslim society in a better manner,” said an executive member on the condition of anonymity. He said the decision was rooted in the demands from Muslim women to increase their numbers in the top religious body.
The three-day meeting in Ujjain also unanimously elected Maulana Syed Mohammad Rabey Hasani Nadwi as the president of the board for the fourth consecutive term. The meeting adopted a seven-point resolution, demanding a minimum compensation of `25 lakh to Muslim youths implicated in false cases and acquitted by courts. It also demanded expeditious trial in all terror cases by constituting fast-track courts.
The meeting reiterated its expressed its strong opposition to the direct tax code bill awaiting nod of Parliament and demanded inclusion of exemptions and concessions available to religious bodies as provided in the present Income Tax Act.
The board also opposed Madhya Pradesh government’s move to promote Surya Namaskar, Bhojan Mantar and Vandemataram. The resolution said, “All these acts in a secular country are against the spirit of Indian Constitution and the government had no right to propagate any particular religion”.