And we say, respectfully, “How dare you!”

National Federation of Indian Women

This government that has worked to ceaselessly one by one, decimate the constitutional rights of Muslims in India, now has the temerity to declare Muslim Women’s Rights Day on August 1. This, to celebrate its passage of its purportedly Anti-Triple Talaq law (Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019), that claimed to protect Muslim women’s rights, but in reality, had a more sinister purpose – to show Muslim men their place in a new India. To tell them that they can be criminalized even in civil matters.

The Triple Talaq law was an abomination. It was then, and still is, nothing but a charade. Because no such law was needed to “protect Muslim women, or secure their rights” since the Supreme Court had already struck the Triple Talaq down. So, we voiced our opposition when the law was passed in Parliament in 2019. “You cannot pretend to save Muslim women while seeking to bring the Muslim community to its knees.” The sentiment is as true today as it was then. 

This government has diluted Muslims’ rights to citizenship by enacting the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA). The very Muslim women, in whose name you have declared August 1 as a day of “their rights” invited their government, even begged their government, to talk to them when they were out on the streets, protesting the CAA-NPR-NRC, in a desperate bid to save their future, their children’s future, their family’s future, in their own country. You responded to those Muslim women with the utter contempt of silence. Without even the pretence of democratic dialogue. 

This government instead mercilessly arrested those who protested the CAA-NRC-NPR under anti-terror laws like UAPA. It jailed Muslim women who dared to take to their streets to protect their rights to citizenship. It has deprived Muslim women of their youthful children, who languish today in jails. It has deprived Muslim women of husbands, who are incarcerated. It has placed in detention centres Muslim women, men, children and transpersons who could not produce “citizenship papers” in Assam.

This government has remained silent as Muslims have been lynched, and its leaders have garlanded the lynchers. The BJP both at the centre and through its state governments, has determinedly “gone after” Muslims under myriad laws, both old, new and proposed – beef bans, anti-conversion, including the recent Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020, and its proposed U.P. Population Control Bill. It has systematically tried to rob Muslims of their right to livelihood, and Muslim women of their agency. 

This government has remained silent as men exhorted mobs to rape Muslim women (most recently in Pataudi). It has remained silent, without a single comment, tweet or tear, as Muslim women’s bodies have become the object of “Sulli Deals” by right wing online mobs. 

Such a government has no moral right to declare any national day in the name of Muslim women.

We collectively, as citizens of India – Muslim and non-Muslim women, men and trans persons across castes and regions – reject the cynical optics of a “Muslim Women’s Rights Day” by a government intent on reducing all Muslims to second-class citizens. 

What we demand is the release of Gulfisha Fatima and Ishrat Jahan, both Muslim women, from unjust incarceration. On behalf of Sabiha Ilyas, a Muslim woman, we demand the release of her son, Umar Khalid from unjust incarceration. On behalf of Nargis Saifi, a Muslim woman, we demand the release of her husband Khalid Saifi from unjust incarceration. On behalf of Afshan Rahim, a Muslim woman, we demand the release of her son, Sharjeel Imam from unjust incarceration. On behalf of Fatima Nafees, a Muslim woman, we ask you to find her son, Najeeb.

On behalf of Raihanath Kappan, a Muslim woman, we ask you to release her husband, Siddique Kappan from incarceration. On behalf of Ayesha Sultana, a Muslim woman, charged with sedition for stating that officials must follow Covid protocols in Lakshadweep, we ask you to unconditionally drop all charges. On behalf of Safoora Zargar, a Muslim woman, we ask that she, like all other Muslim activists, lawyers, journalists, students, be freed of the false and malicious cases filed against them by this government. There is a long such list, Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

After you have done that, please then sit with us. With all of us, Muslim and Non-Muslim women, men and transpersons, who believe in our democracy and its promise of equality. And then we can discuss that appropriate day of ‘declaration’ in the future, when Muslim women feel their rights are secure, and they want the whole nation to celebrate their rightful and visible place in this democracy. 


Farah NaqviDelhiWriter & Activist

Syeda HameedDelhiMuslim Women’s Forum

Aruna Roy Devdoongri, RajasthanMKSS

Ayesha KidwaiDelhiProfessor, JNU

Mohini GiriNew DelhiGuild of service

Poonam KaushikDelhiGeneral Secretary Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan Delhi

Hasina Khan MumbaiBebaak Collective

Teesta Setalvad Mumbai Independent 

Kavita Krishnan Delhi AIPWA 

Annie RajaKeralaNational Federation of Indian Women

Subhashini AliKanpurAIDWA VICE PRESIDENT

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Rushda SiddiquiNew DelhiNFIW 

Smita Gupta New Delhi Economist and Activist 

Chayanika Shah MumbaiForum Against Oppression of Women 

Meera SanghamitraHyderabadNational Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) 

Jayati GhoshNorthamptonUniversity of Massachusetts at Amherst USA

A.SuneethaHyderabadWomen and Transgender Joint Action 

Shabnam HashmiDelhiANHAD

Abha BhaiyyaHimachalJagori Grameen

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Sehba FarooquiDelhiAIDWA Delhi

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Prof Zenab BanuUdaipurBohra youth Girls’ wing 

Dr LubnaHyderabadIndependent

PurnenduDelhiIndependent

Shoeb Miya Rashid Miya DeshmukhYavatmalIndependent

SabinaDelhiIndependent

Babar Hameed Delhi Independent 

Anita RampalDelhiIndependent

Kazi Hasan ArabiSitapur, Uttar PradeshIndependent

Zubala MariumDelhiIndependent 

Sadhna AryaDelhiUniversity of Delhi

Shaheen Afzal AnsariMumbaiIndependent

Kamal MalhiCHANDIGARHIndependent

Ayesha AhmedNew DelhiIndependent

SHAIKH JAVED AJalgaon Independent 

Bushra BhatiMumbaiIndependent 

Persis GinwallaAhmedabadIndependent 

SudhaMumbaiJNU

Haseena P YKollamEngineer

BinduDelhiIndependent

Gazanfer AliUdaipurIndependent

NeelamNew DelhiIndependent

Muralidharan New Delhi National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled 

Mohini GiriNew DelhiFormer Chairperson NCW

Junaid BhatiMumbaiIndependent 

Safia MehdiNew DelhiMember, Muslim Women’s Forum

Cedric PrakashAHMEDABAD INDIAHuman Rights & Peace Activist

Reyaz AhmedNew DelhiMuslim Women’s Forum

Malini GhosrNew DelhiIndependent

Soumya LambaNew DelhiMuslim Women’s Forum

Warisha FarasatDelhiAdvocate

Anjana Mangalagiri New Delhi Independent 

Kavita Bajeli DattNew DelhiIndependent

SK DasGurgaonIndependent 

Zeeba Mumbai Independent 

Rashida SayeedMumbaiTeacher

Uzma AnjumNEW DELHIIndependent 



Shubham KumarMuzaffarpurIndian Institute of Technology, Delhi

Rochita TalukderKolkataIndependent 

Shakeel KhanMumbaiIndependent 

SudhaMumbaiIndependent 

Shadab Shaheen Navi MumbaiAffiliation

Vandana MahajanNew DelhiIndependent 

Sonya J Nair Thiruvananthapuram Independent 

Dinesh SahniNew DelhiRetired

Rafia KhanNew DelhiIndependent

Komala VRBengaluruIndependent

SabinaChennaiRGS

AlwynNew DelhiIndependent

Sheba George Ahmedabad Independent

Sudha NBangaloreIndependent

MD.SHARIQUE EHSAN Kolkata Independent 

Siddhartha Mitra Delhi Independent 

Kiran MoghePunePune Zilha Gharkamgar Sanghatana

Zarin New Delhi Independent 

Zaara ShaikhMumbaiIndependent 

Joheb GhoriJaipur Independent 

Qurratulain NagpurJamate Islami hind

Satnam KaurNew DelhiSaheli

Savita SharmaDelhiSaheli

GOPIKANTA GHOSHKOLKATAINDEPENDENT

Bilal KhanMumbaiGBGBA

Dr. Tarannum Siddiqui DelhiIndependent 

Rupsa MallikGurgaonFeminist activist

T R KidwaiNew DelhiIndependent 

GOPIKANTA GHOSHKOLKATAINDEPENDENT

Mamta SinghLucknowIndependent

S. Durga BhavaniHyderabadNA

MasoodHyderabadIndependent

Dr Rukmini RaoHyderabadSocial activist

Nazishta Nagpur Independent

MOHD AZHAR NUMANISiddharth Nagar, UPAffiliation

Prabir ChatterjeeKolkataIndependent

Farhan SayaniNavi MumbaiAIMIM

Kamayani Bali MahabalMumbaiJan Swasthya Abhiyan- Mumbai

Afroja khatunKolkataIndependent

Kanwaljit DhillonChandigarhPunjab Women Collective 

Mohammed Ajeeb Bradford ukIndependent 

KachimSilcharIndependent

Nikhil DeyDevoongri, RajasthanMKSS

Shanker SinghDev doongri, RajasthanMKSS

Shubhangi ShuklaDev doongri, RajasthanMKSS

Renuka PamechaJaipurWomens Rahbailiation Group

Mamta JaitlyJaipurVividha, Women’s Documentation and Resource Centre 

Vijay Lakshmi JoshiJaipurPUCL, Jaipur

Tishna SenapatyJaipurPUCL, Rajasthan

Komal SrivastavaJaipurBGVS

Sarla Kumari YadavJaipurPUCL Jaipur

Sister carolAjmerPUCL, Ajmer

Anita ChaudharyJaipurPUCL, Jaipur

Pragnya JoshiRaniwada, JalorePUCL, Rajasthan

Dr. Shikha KapurNew DelhiAcademic

Tara AhluwaliaBhilwaraPUCL, Bhilwara

Lata SinghJaipurPUCL Jaipur

Meeta singhJaipurPUCL Jaipur

Akhil ChaudaryJaipurPUCL, Jaipur

Mewa BhartiJaipurRajasthan Mahila Kamgaar Union

Pushpa SainiJaipurWomen’s Rehabilitation Group

Shabnam AzizJaipurPUCL, Jaipur

Suman DevathiyaJaipurWomen’s Right to Fight

Meena GuptaSecunderabad Independent

Ranjita Biswas Kolkata Independent 

Kiran BangaNew DelhiIndependent

Dr Surinder JaipalLudhianaPunjab Women Collective

URVASHI BUTALIANEW DELHIIndependent

Muhammad TMumbaiPh.D. candidate 

Walter FernandesGuwahatiNESRC

M R KidwaiNew DelhiIndependent

Nivedita JhaPatnaBihar Mahila Samaj

Nisha SidhuJaipurNFIW

Meenakshi BindoriyaJaipurNFIW

Isha SharmaJaipurNFIW

Sumitra ChopraJaipurAIDWA

Kusum SaiwalJaipurAIDWA

Seema JainBikanerAIDWA

Durga SwamiSri GangangangarAIDWA

Chandrakala VermaHanumangarhAIDWA

Neha MeghwalJodhpurAIDWA

Tara GhayalSikarAIDWA

RaeesaAlwarAIDWA

Shrikanta ShrimaliUdaipurAIDWA

Asis Kumar DasDankuni, HooghlySocial Activist

Irfan EngineerMumbaiInstitute of Islamic Studies

Sunita SheelPuneIndependent

Dipa SinhaDelhiIndependent

Aysha KhanDelhiRight to Food Campaign

Bhanwar MeghwanshiBhilwara, Mandal, BhilwaraPUCL

MadhuriBadwani, MPJADS

Anuradha TalwarWest BengalPBKMS

SindhuJaipurSamta Manch

Ashima Roy ChowdhuryNew Delhi NCRFeminist activist

Zaheda SarwarJaunpur,U.P.Independent

Jaya SharmaDelhiIndependent

Meenakshi SanyalDelhiIndependent

Swapna BanerjeeDelhiIndependent

Sanchita MukherjeeDelhiIndependent

SuparnaDelhiIndependent

About the Author

National Federation of Indian Women, women’s organisation in India, originated from the women’s wing of the Communist Party of India. It was established on 4th June 1954.