The two minor children of Ishrat Jahan, one of the Indian crusaders against instant triple talaq, went missing on Thursday morning from the Pilkhana area in Howrah town in West Bengal where she lives with her sister-in-law and the latter’s husband.
Jahan, 31, alleged her children were kidnapped by her former husband Murtaza Ansari and her sister-in-law and her husband - who have been allegedly asking her to leave the house ever since the Supreme Court passed the historic verdict on August 22 - were involved.
In her complaint received by Golabari police station, Jahan alleged that Murtaza - who now lives in Dubai with his second wife - was in Kolkata. She said in the complaint that her sister-in-law Zubina Khatoon and her husband Mustafa Ansari were involved in the kidnapping.
Jahan said her daughter Shaista Khatoon (13) and son Zaid Alam (7) went to play in the neighbourhood at 11 am and did not return.
“The children were kidnapped and we are lodging a complaint at the Golabari police station in Howrah,” Nazia Elahi Khan, the lawyer who represented Jahan in the Triple Talaq case, told Hindustan Times at 5.20 pm.
Jahan’s two elder daughters live with her former husband who delivered a telephonic triple talaq from Dubai in April 2014.
“We are yet to find any evidence that points at forceful kidnapping.The children appear to have left with a member of the family. We are investigating the matter,” T Pandey, inspector-in-charge of Golabari police station told Hindustan Times.
“Last night my daughter had gone to my sister-in-law’s room to keep some clothes. She heard the couple saying something about sending away the children. How can they do this?” said Jahan.
Jahan claimed she has been facing threats from her neighbours ever since the Supreme Court set aside the controversial Islamic practice of instant divorce or, Talaq-e-Biddat. Jahan is one of the five women whose petitions were heard by the apex court.
Six days ago she sought security cover from Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Incidentally, neither Banerjee nor the ruling Trinamool Congress has so far made any comment on the judgement and opposition parties have reacted strongly to this silence. “Till Thursday the state took no action on her prayer for security,” said Khan.
Jahan said her sister-in-law disconnected the electricity connection to her room and people in the area were planning a social boycott. Though she has been living in the Muslim neighbourhood for years, local people reacted after the media splashed the news of her victory and aired her interview. Nazia Elahi Khan, said she too was being trolled on social media since August 22.
With no job and nowhere to go, Jahan wrote a letter to chief minister Mamata Banerjee seeking security for herself and her children.
“My daughter and son are scared. They never faced a situation like this. People pass nasty comments whenever I step out. I am not asking for financial support. The state government can at least provide us with security,” Jahan told Hindustan Times last week.