Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) has called aborting a foetus a moral crime, and appealed to the Supreme Court to review its ruling which has given legal abortion rights to all women, married and unmarried, up to 24 weeks into pregnancy.

Addressing media persons at its headquarters in the national capital on October 1, JIH Vice-President Prof. Mohammed Salim Engineer said that the court’s ruling would increase exploitation of women as men will no longer fear the consequences of their actions.

The apex court, recently ruled that there should be no distinction between married and unmarried women and it must include unmarried women in a consensual relationship also as far as abortion rights are concerned.

In the same verdict, the court also ruled that women should have “reproductive autonomy” and the consent of the husband or any other family member was not required.

Responding to it, the JIH Vice President said that the issue pertained to the life at the stage of a foetus who was not in a position to defend his/her rights, and removal of the foetus amounted to killing. He said that the right of the foetus should have been considered by the court in pronouncing the verdict in such a sensitive case.

In response to a question from reporters, Mrs. Rahamathunnissa of Women’s Wing of JIH, said, “Abortion is basically a moral problem. There is a human life settlement in the foetus. We don’t have the right to end this life. It is also a violation of human rights. Abortion cannot be accepted just to get rid of one’s duties and responsibilities and to hide one’s own or someone else’s moral degradation in certain circumstances.” 

She added, “Safe or unsafe abortions will have long-term impact on a woman’s emotional and physical health. Who are we to decide the fate of foetus who is also an individual but cannot raise voice. We must examine the consequences of this law on society. Be it legally or illegally, abortion is a human rights violation.”

She demanded that the government and the courts must protect every life, including the life of a foetus. She stated that abortion is unethical, immoral, and illegal.

While replying on the increasing atrocities on women, she said, “Women have not been given a proper place in our society. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows that more than 4.2 lakh incidents of crime have been reported against him in 2021. There is an urgent need to improve the society by bringing a change in the attitude towards women.”

Stating that foetus has to be regarded as an unborn human being, the two JIH leaders said that since a foetus or an unborn child cannot defend its rights, did not mean that we could dispense them at will merely for reasons of convenience. The two leaders said this amounted to murder and hence, abortion, except in extreme medical cases, should not be allowed. They said that a blanket legal right to abortion would increase atrocities on women.

Responding to a question over ban on PFI, Prof. Salim Engineer said, “Jamaat-e-Islami Hind’s stand is very clear that the culture of banning the organisations goes against the democratic spirit and basic civil liberties. If anyone breaks the law or commits any crime, the court will decide about allegations.” 

Speaking on the significance of peace and non-violence for India, Prof. Salim said, “21 September is celebrated the world over as World Peace Day. 2 October is commemorated as the International Day of Non-Violence. JIH feels that both these days have a special significance for India. We are a multi-cultural, multi-religious, and multi-lingual country with a Constitution that is based on principles of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. These abiding principles demand that we the people of India live together in peace and harmony. Today, some forces are seeking power in the name of hate and division and hence becoming a threat to peace and progress. Society needs to develop mutual tolerance and trust among each other. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind feels that the message of non-violence and the resolution of differences can only be through the process of dialogue, debate and discussion. Might is right is the rule of the jungle and not that of civilized societies.”

Voicing concern over the Indian rupee which has now fallen to Rs 81.47 against the US dollar, the JIH Vice President lamented, “It is a historically low number and an outcome of the hike in interest rates by the Federal Reserve of the United States. The RBI has lost a significant amount of its foreign exchange reserves in defending the rupee from a further slide. India’s forex reserves now stand at $537.5 billion as of September 23, the lowest in the last two years. Defending the rupee cannot be a sustainable strategy because of our rising current account deficit (import-export gap). Rupee depreciation will make fuel prices go up even further causing inflation and resulting in a tightening of our monetary policy.

“Another area of concern is our ranking of 132 among 191 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI) 2022. HDI is calculated using four indicators – life expectancy at birth, mean years of schooling, expected years of schooling, and the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita. In all these indices our performance is lower than even those of our neighbours like Sri Lanka, China, and Bangladesh. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind feels that India must take the lead in transforming its economy from being interest-based to equity-based so that it can be stable and sustain itself without depending on the ups and downs of fluctuating interest rates and their impact on global currency rates.”

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