A 23-year old woman from Hyderabad on Wednesday appealed to Union minister of external affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, to help her get an official divorce from her 40-year old husband, who pronounced triple talaq over phone from the US two months ago.
In her letter to S Jaishankar, Saba Fatima, a resident of Chandrayangutta in the old city, requested that the external affairs ministry directs the Indian embassy in the US to speak to her husband, Abdi Wali Ahmed, a Somalia national, who is presently working as a driver in Boston, USA, and settle the divorce issue as soon as possible.
“I request you to interfere in this matter and help me in getting justice. I cannot remarry without any authentic divorce papers,” Fatima said in her letter.
She got married to Ahmed on January 25, 2015, when he was studying engineering in Hyderabad, while his family lived in Abu Dhabi. “A relative of ours brought the alliance stating that he was a good boy and I would have a bright future if I married him. Ours is a very poor family and I was a high school dropout. I thought my father would not have brought a better match for me and hence, I agreed for the marriage,” she told Hindustan Times.
The Nikah was performed by a Qazi as per Islamic laws and registered with Telangana Wakf Board. “A week after the wedding reception, Ahmed left for his parents’ place. After that he used to come to Hyderabad every six months and we used to stay in a rented house in Tolichowki and Malakpet areas of Hyderabad,” she said.
The last time Ahmed visited Fatima was in February 2020 and later, he visited his mother in Dubai as she was held up there because of the coronavirus lockdown.
“Later, he went to Boston where he got a job as a driver. He used to be in touch with me even from the US. He told me he had got some other job there and was earning around Rs 4 lakh a month. He also sent me money for my daily needs,” she said.
On October 7, Ahmed called Fatima’s father, Mohd Fareed, stating that he was divorcing her. “He asked my father to switch-on the speaker of the mobile and pronounced triple talaq, without any reason. I called him up again and had an argument, but he did not reveal why he was divorcing me,” she lamented.
Later, Ahmed blocked her and her family members’ mobile numbers and did not take any calls. Fatima tried to contact her mother-in-law in Dubai and sister-in-law who stayed in London. “Though they assured me of justice initially, they, too, blocked my number later and could not be reached,” she said.
After making repeated efforts to contact them in the last two months, Fatima finally approached the ministry of external affairs seeking their help.
It may be mentioned that Parliament had passed Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage), Bill, 2019, last year, which criminalised instant triple talaq among Muslims. The bill got the presidential assent in August.