11 May, 2021

Imrana: Her Story

Panchayat and Shariat turn the victim into sinner. It's a fate many other women in western UP share. Updates

Manish Sharma
Imrana: Her Story

Finding Imrana, the woman who has stirred up this year's most heated religious controversy—raking up volatile issues like a uniform civil code, the rule of caste panchayats and the Shariat, launching a steady stream of high-profile visitors and more TV talk shows than this part of western UP has seen in recent times—was not going to be easy. So I enlist the help of Rehana Adib, an intrepid activist on visiting terms with the besieged family, who are now keeping her under close guard, fighting off reporters and lensmen with stones and abuses.

Rehana leads me confidently through the stifling, dung-smelling lanes of Kukramandi, a village clinging abjectly to the outskirts of Muzaffarnagar. Past curtained doorways with staring children behind them, until we turn abruptly into a courtyard where a young woman is sweeping the mud floor, raising a thick carpet of flies that settle sluggishly on the electric wiring overhead. She points us to the only room in the "house"—a tiny, airless, ill-lit cubbyhole. There, on a wooden divan that runs from...

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