New Delhi: Ever since the Supreme Court delivered its historic verdict on triple talaq, the Muslim practice of divorce, the media has been trying to get hold of petitioner Shayara Bano's husband Rizwan Ahmed to know his reaction to the judgment.
He lives in Allahabad and has managed to evade reporters.
"He is not traceable. We are contacting him. His number has been switched off since the verdict," ETV’s Sarvesh Dubey, a local journalist, said.
Mohammad Moin, the ABC journalist in Allahabad, is the only reporter who managed to speak to Ahmed after the top court declared triple talaq as unconstitutional. "The moment the verdict was out, I contacted him and he said that he welcomes it. He expressed his desire to not speak further and disconnected the phone," Moin told News18.com.
Moin tried to trace Ahmed to the address he was given by the latter last year. "When I reached the spot, I found that nobody by this name lives there. Either he shifted after the petition was filed or he lied to the media about his whereabouts," said Moin.
Bano’s brother Arshad Ali said Ahmed had fled after inviting media persons to his home. "One of the mediapersons contacted him. He called them home and then ran away. This has been happening since the petition was filed. It is only the All India Muslim Personal Law Board that is speaking for him. If you reach them (AIMPLB), you reach him. The petition has changed his life. He never received the notices personally… always told people he is not home."
According to Moin, Ahmed may not have imagined that the case would assume such humongous proportions. "This act of hiding and running away from the media is natural. Firstly, he would not have thought that a family matter will become a milestone in the country. He would have never thought that he would be seeing his wife on TV. And most importantly, he would have never imagined that his wife could be so bold."
The case of Shayara Bano, who was divorced by Ahmed in 2015 via speed post, is reminiscent of the Shah Bano case of the ’80s, which was a landmark step in Muslim women's fight for social justice and equality — but with a disappointing end.
In 1985, the SC had decisively ruled in favour of Bano, who had sought maintenance from her husband who had divorced her. But following a backlash from orthodox Muslim groups, the then Rajiv Gandhi government diluted the order through an Act.