- Ishrat Jahan is a prominent petitioner against triple talaq
- She said she was threatened near her home in Kolkata
- She said she faced death threats and had sought police protection
Ishrat Jahan, a prominent petitioner against triple talaq or instant divorce, alleged today that she was manhandled and threatened near her home in Kolkata for attending a "Hanuman Chalisa" reading on Tuesday. She said she faced death threats and had sought police protection.
The 35-year-old says she was surrounded by a crowd outside her building in Pilkhana in Howrah city when she brought her son home from school on Wednesday. As she approached, she was heckled and asked why she had attended the Hanuman Chalisa event.
"A huge crowd of people gathered outside my house and asked me why I went to attend a Hanuman Chalisa event wearing a hijab," said Ishrat Jahan, who joined the BJP last year. The Hanuman Chalisa compiles hymns for Hanuman, a devotee of Hindu god Ram.
"I said I am a secular person. If Hindus can be invited to namaz, why can't I go to a Hanuman Chalisa paath," said Ishrat Jahan.
"But the local people said, you should have gone without the hijab. You have maligned all Muslims. I was threatened, told to leave the house where I live. I live alone with my son. I am now scared." She said she had asked the police to protect her from "extremist people" like her landlord and the brother of her ex-husband in a formal complaint.
Ishrat Jahan went to court after her husband divorced her over a phone call from Dubai where he working at the time.
"I used to be scared during the triple talaq hearing as no one supported me, but this is more frightening," she said.
According to sources, the practice of public reading of the Hanuman Chalisa in Ishrat's neighbourhood was started recently by local BJP leaders. Ishrat Jahan was invited to the event.
Sources also say local BJP leaders launched the Hanuman Chalisa programme in response to namaz by Muslims on the streets on Friday. The police were asked to block streets for Hanuman Chalisa just as they do for namaz.