SRINAGAR – Easing the plight of Kashmir half-widows, a group of Muslim scholars in India’s administered Jammu and Kashmir have announced that wives of Kashmiri men, who have forcibly disappeared during the past 23-years of turmoil, can remarry four years after their husbands’ went missing.
"These women should have to wait only four years for their husbands and if they fail to get any information by that time then they are free to remarry," said the fatwa by a local panel of Muslim scholars, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported on Thursday, December 26.
Husband Disappeared for Long: Wife Became a Widow?
Thousands of women in Kashmir have lost their husbands, brothers and sons to what rights activists call “forced disappearances”.
Once their loved ones go missing, women begin a desperate journey as they move from one police station to another, and from one army camp to another, in a journey that takes months and sometimes years.
The edict issued on Thursday is designed to ease the plight of more than a thousand so-called 'half widows' who have been left in limbo since their husbands disappeared in Kashmir.
As their husbands were not officially declared dead, the women face huge obstacles in getting access to ration cards or their spouses' bank accounts and thus become dependent on their parents or in-laws.
Up to 10,000 Kashmiris have gone missing since 1989, mostly after being detained by Indian security forces who have broad powers of arrest.
At least 2,000 of the disappeared people were young married males, according to the independent Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP).
The Muslim-majority Himalayan region is divided into two parts and ruled by India and Pakistan, which have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over the region.
Pakistan and the UN back the right of the Kashmir people for self-determination, an option opposed by New Delhi.
In Islam, the wife is best advised to take all possible ways to search for her husband.
If, at last, she doesn’t find him, she has to seek the divorce in the legal way in a Shari`ah court, sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, said in an earlier fatwa on OnIslam.net.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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