After a span of 25 years, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has fielded a woman candidate for the 2021 Kerala Assembly election — Noorbina Rasheed. The last time the IUML — an ally of Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) — gave a ticket to a female candidate, Kamarunnisa Anwar, was in the 1996 Assembly election. She lost the election to CPI(M) by 8,000 votes. Noorbina, however, doesn't feel that there is discrimination within the party but that “it takes time for changes to happen.”
"I am very happy that my party has given recognition to the women’s wing. The IUML gives due representation to women, if we consider the representation given to women by other political parties from the time they were founded in Independent India," said the 38-year-old leader. The IUML has fielded Noorbina from Kozhikode's south constituency in northern Kerala.
Noorbina is a lawyer by profession, who was practising law until the day before filing her nomination. If elected, she promised to fight for woman’s safety. “Women should feel that they are safe. We also need infrastructure development. I am a lawyer. If elected, I want to understand all legislations before they are passed in the Assembly,” she said.
According to Noorbina’s opinion, the Left Democratic Front, led by the CPI (M), will not win this time. “They haven’t done enough for the people and so, the continuum of power would be a nightmare for them,” she substantiated.
Multiple pre-poll surveys have predicted a second-term for the LDF in Kerala. “I don’t believe in predictions. In politics, a lot of things can happen overnight. LDF’s desire to continue in power will turn into a nightmare. The UDF will come back to power," she said.
It was Noorbina who moved the Supreme Court in 2020 against the criminalisation of triple talaq. In 2019, the Union government passed a law that criminalises the practice of instant divorce.
"India is a secular country and it’s a fundamental right provided by the Constitution that everyone has the right to freedom of religion or belief. Triple Talaq is a form of divorce in the Muslim community. Divorces are happening in other communities too, but husbands in those communities are not put behind bars. It’s discriminatory, a divide and rule policy of Modi. Apart from this, the legislation won’t be any good for Muslim women. I don’t endorse triple talaq. I believe that the SC will declare that legislation as anti-constitutional," she said.
The Women’s League also wrote to the Prime Minister against raising the marriageable age from 18 to 21 years. “It’s a fundamental right to decide when to get married. We get the right to vote at 18, live-in relationships are permissible, and the government is going to make legislation for live-in relationships. It’s wrong to ask a woman to wait till 21 if she wants to get married at 18," Noorbina said.
Noorbina will face off against Ahamed Devarkovil of the Indian National League, an ally of the Left Democratic Front (LDF).
Watch: Noorbina Rasheed’s full interview with TNM