Threatened and verbally abused for attending Hanuman Chalisa recital

Kolkata: Ishrat Jahan, a petitioner in the triple talaq case in the Supreme Court, has filed a police complaint alleging she was threatened and verbally abused by relatives and community members for attending a Hanuman Chalisa recital in a hijab.

In her complaint, she has accused her brother-in-law and landlord of hurling abuses and intimidating her for taking part in the religious function in her residential area on Tuesday last.

Jahan claimed she was returning home from her son's school on Wednesday when hundreds of local residents in Golabari area surrounded and intimidated her for attending the recital.

"We have started an inquiry into the complaint and necessary action will be taken," an officer at the Golabari police station said. Jahan has said her life was in danger and sought protection from the police, the officer said.

"I wish to say that we are living in a secular country and it is our democratic right to take part in any holy festival," she wrote in her complaint to the police, a copy of which is with PTI.

"I did my duty as a good citizen of my country. I am a secular person. However, I am facing life threats from my family members due to the same," she wrote. Jahan also claimed her brother in-law and landlord have threatened to throw her out of her residence.

Talking about the sordid episode on TV channels Thursday, Jahan defended her participation in a community programme of another faith in her area, who she said also share pleasantries on religious occasions of the Muslim community.

"It (Hanuman Chalisa recital) was not a party event but a programme of a community... I do not see anything wrong in participating in it as people of other faiths also join us in our religious occasions," she said.

She alleged the purpose behind her harassment was to drive her away from home and the locality as she had challenged the misuse of instant triple talaq in the apex court.

She challenged the "dharam ke thekedar" (self-styled custodian of religion), saying "why do not they come to the help of thousands of victims of the triple talaq, fighting for justice in Howrah court?"

Mother to a 14-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son, Jahan is one of the five petitioners in the case against instant triple talaq. The practice of instant triple talaq was struck down by the Supreme Court on August 22, 2017.

She moved the apex court after her husband divorced her over the phone from Dubai by uttering the word 'talaq' thrice.

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