Shramik train migrants
Migrants stand in a queue after getting off the Shramik Special train to board buses home, at Danapur station, during the nationwide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in Patna on Sunday. Image Credit: ANI

Patna: A man from Bihar divorced his wife through triple talaq — a practice that is banned by law in India — because she had reportedly suggested that he stay at the local quarantine centre before entering home. The man, a daily wage earner, had returned from Maharashtra, one of the Indian states worst-affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Mohammad Shahid, a resident of Babubarhi block in Madhubani district, worked at a construction firm in Mumbai, but after the nationwide lockdown that started on March 24, his company was shut. Late last week, he reached Bihar by train and headed straight to his home to be with his family, but his wife objected to him coming home directly and instead suggested that he first report to the quarantine centre so as to save his family from any possible coronavirus infection through him.

This suggestion left the man enraged and he took the extreme step of divorcing his wife through triple talaq. Reports said the man went up to his wife and uttered the word ‘talaq’ thrice to enforce a divorce, leaving the woman shocked and shattered. Shahid is currently staying with his father, following the divorce.

“His wife did nothing wrong by advising him to stay at the quarantine centre. The man has committed a big crime by issuing a triple talaq,” local village council chief Jamil Akhtar said. He added he would convene a meeting of the villagers once the lockdown ended to initiate action against Shahid. “We will initiate such an action that none will dare issue a triple talaq ever again to his wife,” Akhtar declared.

Triple talaq has been declared unlawful in India. Last July, the contentious Triple Talaq Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of parliament). While 99 lawmakers voted for it, 84 voted against the ‘Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019’ that criminalised instant divorcing of their wives by Muslim men.

“An archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbin of history! Parliament abolishes Triple Talaq and corrects a historical wrong done to Muslim women. This is a victory of gender justice and will further equality in society. India rejoices today!” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted soon after the Bill was passed in the Upper House.