'Wives of disappeared Kashmiri men can remarry after four years'

Srinagar, Dec 26 : In a significant development, a group of Islamic scholars Thursday ruled that "half-widows", or women whose husbands had disappeared during the over 20-year-long conflict in Jammu and Kashmir and whose whereabouts are since unknown, can re-marry after four years of waiting for their spouses.

A civil society initiative had organized a round of consultations among the local Islamic scholars to deliberate on the future of woman whose husbands had disappeared during the over 20-year old conflict in the state.

Such women have come to be known as "half widows" because the fact of their husbands being alive or dead has remained shrouded in an unresolved mystery over the years.

The group of Islamic scholars also said that the issue of inheritance of properties of missing husbands by the half widows should be resolved in light of the relevant Quranic decrees.

As regards their consensus decision on the re-marriage of half widows after four years, the group said a detailed decree or fatwa would be issued by them soon.

As per the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act 1939 also, a married Muslim woman is entitled to obtain a decree for the dissolution of her marriage if the whereabouts of the husband are not known for a period of four years.

This remedy is also available if the husband has neglected or failed to provide for her maintenance for a period of two years or the husband has been sentenced to imprisonment for a period of seven years and more and finally if the husband has failed to perform, without any reasonable cause, his marital obligations for a period of three years.

Till now there had been no consensus among the local Islamic scholars over the re-marriage rights of the half widows here.

--IANS (Posted on 26-12-2013)

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