India man held after postcard divorce

Muslim brides in India Image copyright AFP
Image caption Activists say thousands of Muslim women have been divorced by their husbands by triple talaq

An Indian man was arrested for harassment and cheating after divorcing his second wife via postcard.

Mohammed Haneef sent the card just a week after their wedding. It said "talaq" (divorce) three times, enough to enact divorce for an Indian Muslim.

His wife complained to Hyderabad police who found the marriage invalid as she had not declared an earlier divorce.

Mr Haneef, 38, was bailed but, acting on legal advice, police say they will now charge him with rape.

"Our investigation showed that the marriage procedure was not correct because he did not have the right papers," V Satyanarayana, deputy commissioner of police, told the BBC.

"We are cancelling the bail given to Haneef first and we will arrest him for rape as per our legal advice," he added.

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Media captionShavista Sheikh: 'These words destroy people's lives'

Mr Haneef is still married to his first wife, and reportedly married again with her consent. Under Islamic law a man is allowed to have up to four wives.

The practice of triple talaq, which allows Muslim men to divorce their wives in an instant, is facing fierce opposition in India.

Women's groups have been campaigning against the practice and India's top court is in the process of deciding whether it is unconstitutional.

Activists say most Islamic countries, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, have banned triple talaq, but it thrives in India.