Community panchayat rejects divorce man gave to wife for wanting to study

A community panchayat in Bijnore has nullified the divorce that a man gave to his wife for wanting to continue her studies. The panchayat also declared that the woman, who has completed her first year of graduation, is free to study further.

Hina, a resident of Mahdood Newada village, was married on April 14 this year to Aftab of the nearby Sotkhedi village.

However, Aftab, who is a helper on a private bus, was against Hina pursuing her graduation. The two would often be involved in quarrels with Aftab one day pronouncing talaq (divorce) to Hina, who returned to her mother's place in October.

While Hina has returned to her husband's place after the panchayat's announcements, uncertainty prevails over the validity of divorce.

"Hina is a bright student and passed the first year of graduation from Janata Degree College, Noorpur, with good marks. We were worried about her future, as her father had died and I have brought her up as my daughter," Nafees Ahmed, the girl's uncle, told The Indian Express.

The matter reached Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA from Chandpur in Bijnore, Iqbal Thekedar, who is also the sadar (head) of sheikh community in the region to which the girl belongs.

"The case was brought before me. We ourselves promote education of girls through Sheikh Islahi Tanzeem, an organisation for the reform of our society. The local panchayat was asked to decide the case," Iqbal said.

The panchayat was summoned on November 9, which included several village pradhans and other prominent members of the community. "The panchayat was held in our village. During the panchayat it was decided that the girl's demand for continuing her studies is justified. It was also decided that the husband cannot divorce her for this reason and that she is free to continue her studies," Zarinuddin, one of the panchayat members, said.

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