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NRI uses WhatsApp to divorce wife of 4 weeks

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ALAPPUZHA: Ten days after she got married, a 21-year-old Kerala college student's groom left for Dubai, and three weeks later, texted her a 'triple talaq' over WhatsApp.

"He said she was like an apple and he had already tasted it. So he did not want her anymore," said J Prameela Devi, a member of the state women's commission adalat.

The girl's mother had paid the groom a dowry of Rs 10 lakhs and also given him 80 sovereigns of gold. The unexpected talaq shattered the woman who was enrolled in a dental studies college. She and her sister dropped out college and school, respectively. The girl returned home from her in-laws' residence when they ignored the talaq.

On Monday the woman gathered her courage and lodged a complaint at the women's commission's adalat in Pala, Kottayam.

The commission, which questions the validity of a 'WhatsApp talaq', has ordered the department of non-resident Keralites' affairs to find the woman's husband, a 27-year-old, who's originally from Vaikom in Kottayam. It has also told the police to present the man's parents during the next adalat.

A recent study conducted across 10 states by an NGO called Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, showed that Muslim women have unequivocally voiced their dissent against the discriminatory practice of triple talaq with 92.1% seeking its ban.Oral talaq delivered through new media platforms like Skype, text messages, email and Whatsapp have become an increasing cause of worry for the community.

"I don't think a normal youth can act in this manner. The commission should provide protection and legal aid to the girl and her mother,'' said B Sugathakumari, an activist-poet and former chairperson of the state women's commission. She said strict action must be taken against the man.

In the meanwhile, the talaq over WhatsApp has divided Islamic scholars.

The talaq is valid said a member of the Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyyathul Ulama, on Tuesday "The divorce, however, will be granted only after holding discussions with both the man and wife and their family members. If the husband sticks to his stand, divorce will be sanctioned," said Sayyed Attakoya Thangal, the district president of the Ulama.

Another member of the same organization who's also chairman of the state Haj committee, said the WhatsApp message was not a legal document.

"Talaq should ideally be done face-to-face. If it is not possible, talaq can be done after presenting relevant documents signed by witnesses," said Kottumala T M Bappu Musaliyar.

An "oversimplification of the entire process" is what Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen state president T P Abdulla Koya Madani, called the WhatsApp divorce. "Talaq should be done under unavoidable circumstances and conditions. Mandatory steps for talaq cannot be followed in WhatsApp."

Read more of the article : Times of India

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