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Kashmiri girls chant liberty mantra

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Safia, Tohida and Abida, members of Campaign Reservation Express from Jammu and Kashmir during a chat with The Hindu in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday.
Safia, Tohida and Abida, members of Campaign Reservation Express from Jammu and Kashmir during a chat with The Hindu in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday.

Santosh Patnaik

They are on the move spreading awareness about women rights

The 20-member team reaches Visakhapatnam on Tuesday

Their caravan to end in Delhi on June 7

VISAKHAPATNAM: Safia, a youngster from Indo-Pak border in Kashmir, thinks religious diktat on wearing burqua is violation of human rights. She wants to pursue her studies and continue as an activist to fight against male chauvinism. “We do sport burqua but it should not be compulsory. That's the reason why we are not covering our face with burqua during our current yatra in support of women reservation bill (WRB),” she told The Hindu.

Safia is one among the 20 members that consist of the caravan taken out from Jhansi on May 20 to Delhi by Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), which reached the city on Tuesday.

Shocked

The trio was shocked when one person questioned them in Orissa on the rationale behind not wearing burqua. “To wear or not wear is our right and none has any right to question it,” Safia declares oozing out a lot of confidence.

Along with Tohida and Abida, all belonging to Tangdar in Karnah tehsil of Kashmir's Kupwara, Safia is spreading awareness about women rights. They have come out of their native place for the first time. The trio has already covered Jhansi, Jabalpur, Raipur, Bolangir and Bhubaneswar.

The team is scheduled to visit Chennai, Kanchipuram, Madurai, Cochin, Calicut, Bangalore, Anantapur, Hyderabad and culminate their caravan in Delhi on June 7. The trio was excited to see the sea and ships for the first time in their life.

“Literacy in our State is used to be very low. Now awareness level has picked up and people want degrees to get jobs,” Safia, who is studying B.Com said. Tohida, daughter of a doctor, is pursuing her studies in distance mode, while Abida is a school dropout.

Admitting that there is fear-psychosis due to frequent gun battles between terrorists and the army, the Kashmiri girls say that there could be peace if media stopped covering the events. They said they were against fanaticism and attempts for Talibanisation. On behalf of ANHAD, they want to interact with girl students in the strife-torn valley and sensitise them on their rights.

“Everyone in the valley wants to enjoy their freedom. As it is for half of the year, our life is paralysed due to heavy snow. Hence, let us be allowed to live in peace and happiness,” remarks Tohida.


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