Age Islam News Bureau
• Waiting for Kamala Harris to be President of US - Residents of Harris’ Ancestral Village Have Only One Wish
Christian Girl, Arzoo. Refuses To Go Home After Sindh High Court Finds Her
Marriage ‘Not Legally Valid’
Shaik Hazeera, A Muslim Woman, Waging A Spirited Battle Against The Police And
Her Harassers in Andhra Pradesh
Saudi Court Facilitates Young Woman’s Marriage After Stripping Father’s
Saudi Arabia Considers Clemency For Female Activists Ahead Of G20
Saudi Arabia Wins ITU Award For Women Empowerment
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Afghan Woman, Khatera, Shot and Blinded, For Getting A Job
33, an Afghan police woman who was blinded after a gunmen attack in Ghazni
province, reacts after an interview in Kabul, Afghanistan October 12, 2020.
Picture taken October 12, 2020. (Reuters)
33-year-old policewoman was left blind after gunmen attacked her in Ghazni for
‘working’ out side the home
last thing 33-year-old Khatera saw were the three men on a motorcycle who
attacked her just after she left her job at a police station in Afghanistan’s
central Ghazni province, shooting at her and stabbing her with a knife in the
up in hospital, everything was dark.
asked the doctors, why I can’t see anything? They told me that my eyes are
still bandaged because of the wounds. But at that moment, I knew my eyes had
been taken from me,” she said.
and local authorities blame the attack on Taleban militants — who deny
involvement — and say the assailants acted on a tip-off from her father who
vehemently opposed her working outside the home.
Khatera, the attack caused not just the loss of her sight but the loss of a
dream she had battled to achieve — to have an independent career. She joined
the Ghazni police as an officer in its crime branch a few months ago.
wish I had served in police at least a year. If this had happened to me after
that, it would have been less painful. It happened too soon ... I only got to
work and live my dream for three months,” she said.
attack on Khatera, who only uses one name, is indicative of a growing trend,
human rights activists say, of an intense and often violent backlash against
women taking jobs, especially in public roles. In Khatera’s case, being a
police officer could have also angered the Taleban.
rights activists believe a mix of Afghanistan’s conservative social norms and
an emboldened Taleban gaining influence while the United States withdraws its
troops from the country is driving the escalation.
Taleban are currently negotiating in Doha, Qatar, with the Afghan government to
broker a peace deal in which many expect them to formally return to power, but
progress is slow and there has been an uptick in fighting and attacks on
officials and prominent women around the country.
recent months, the Taleban have said they will respect women’s rights under
Sharia law but many educated women say they have doubts. The insurgent group
has opposed a reform to add mother’s names to identity cards, one of the first
concrete stances they have revealed on women’s rights as they engage in the
the situation for Afghan women in public roles has always been perilous, the
recent spike in violence across the country has made matters even worse,” said
Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan campaigner. “The great
strides made on women’s rights in Afghanistan over more than a decade must not
become a casualty of any peace deal with the Taliban.”
dream as a child was to work outside the home and after years of trying to
convince her father, to no avail, she was able to find support from her
her father, she said, did not give up on his opposition.
times, as I went to duty, I saw my father following me ... he started
contacting the Taleban in the nearby area and asked them to prevent me from
going to my job,” she said.
said that he provided the Taleban with a copy of her ID card to prove she
worked for police and that he had called her throughout the day she was
attacked, asking for her location.
police spokesman confirmed they believed the Taleban were behind the attack and
that Khatera’s father had been taken into custody. Reuters was unable to reach
him directly for comment.
Taleban spokesman said the group was aware of the case, but that it was a
family matter and they were not involved.
and her family, including five children, are now hiding out in Kabul, where she
is recovering and mourning the career she lost.
struggles to sleep, jumps when she hears a motorbike and has had to cut off
contact with her extended family, including her mother, who blame her for her
father’s arrest. She hopes desperately that a doctor overseas might somehow be
able to partially restore her sight.
it is possible, I get back my eyesight, I will resume my job and serve in the
police again,” she said, adding in part she needed an income to avoid
destitution. “But the main reason is my passion to do a job outside the home.”
for Kamala Harris to be President of US - Residents of Harris’ Ancestral
Village Have Only One Wish
and placards of Kamala Harris dot the Thulasenthirapuram village and
surrounding areas. Residents also offered special prayer and ceremonies.
DELHI: For three days in a row Arulamozli Sudhakar has been busy making
colorful rangoli designs on the floor outside her house, interspersed with
words of congratulations to US vice president-elect Kamala Harris.
want Harris to visit the village when she becomes the president of the US,”
Sudhakar, 31, a local councilor, told Arab News.
friend, S. Vijyarani, agreed. “I am sure Kamala Harris is going to be the
president of America, and then we would like her to come to the village and
meet us,” Vijayarani told Arab News.
village of Thulasenthirapuram in the Nagapattinam district of the South Indian
state of Tamil Nadu has become the center of attention since Saturday.
Harris is one who belongs to us, and her achievement fills us with immense
pride and a sense of fulfilment,” Sudhakar said.
Harris traces her Indian roots to the village, located nearly 350 km from the
state capital, Chennai.
the place where her grandfather, P. V. Gopalan, was born and raised before he
moved to New Delhi to work with the Indian government in the 1950s.
celebration time for us. The festival of Deepawali is still a week away, but
for us, the celebrations have started early. This is quite a special time for
us,” Sudhakar said, talking about the Hindu festival where people decorate
their houses with lanterns or diyas to ward off evil.
with just 3,000 people, had never taken much interest in American politics
before this year.
were keenly watching the counting in the US. The first day of the counting
disappointed us. However, when the postal ballots began to be counted, our
hopes went up,” Jayaram Sudhakar, a local civil society activist said.
told Arab News “the villagers are planning a big celebration when Kamala Harris
takes the oath. It will be a grand
Harris’ Indian family leaving for opportunities elsewhere, her Chennai-based
maternal aunt, Dr. Sarala Gopalan, visits the local temple regularly.
few years ago, Kamala Harris also donated 5,000 rupees ($70) to the local
temple through her aunt. Her name is prominently inscribed on the temple wall,”
priest S. Ramanan said it did not matter “whether Kamala Harris lives in the
village or not. The villagers feel connected and inspired by her roots in the
of Thulasenthirapuram, Indians in other parts of the country reacted to Harris’
win as well.
rights and political activist Kavita Krishnan said she saw “immense political
significance” in President Donald Trump’s defeat.
gives us hope that through the proper mobilization of working class and young
people we can defeat the majoritarian forces which have taken over the nation,”
Krishnan told Arab News.
Raj, from the University of Delhi, said: “I don’t want to see Harris from the
prism of a woman and an Indian; for me she stands out because she stood up
against wrong, she spoke against the marginalization of minorities and the
debate dominating a section of the media and intelligentsia, however, is how
the victory result in the US might affect the Hindu right-wing ecosystem in
India’s right-wing ecosystem, and especially for Hindu fundamentalists, the
defeat of Trump is no less than a shock,” Gowhar Geelani, a Kashmiri author and
analyst, told Arab News.
won’t be easy for them to get away with Islamophobia, demonization and
caricaturing of Muslims in India and Kashmir,” the Srinagar-based political
being elected, both the incoming president, Joe Biden, and his running mate
Harris had voiced concerns over the political marginalization of Kashmiris and
violence against Indian Muslims elsewhere in the country.
the political class, civil society and human rights actors in Jammu and Kashmir
are happy that Biden and Harris are now at the helm of affairs in the US,
expectations about the immediate relief and conflict resolution is premature,”
added that the victory of the Democrats would “offer some hope” for Kashmiris.
has meant some joy for the people in Kashmir after 15 months of mental and
digital siege,” he said.
political analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay agreed, and added that there was “a
sense of dismay” among the ruling right-wing forces.
am sensing a certain amount of dismay at the result among the right-wing
forces,” Mukhopadhyay, who has written a biography on India’s premier, Narendra
Modi, told Arab News.
fear a strong anti-polarizing discourse in the US would eventually lead to an
eclipse of the large number of populist leaders, including Modi. There are
worries that it may influence Indian politics,” Mukhopadhyay said.
Hilal Ahmed of New Delhi-based think-tank, the Centre for the Study of
Developing Societies, said that the “electoral victory of the Democrats is
significant in a way that it would force the ultra-nationalists all over the
world to refashion their political rhetoric.”
a ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader called the comparison far-fetched.
Modi came to Delhi driven by the power of hope. He represents the aspirations
of the people. His continued popularity shows that people don’t see him from
the prism of ideology or religion, but the prism of hope,” BJP youth leader Pappu
Nirala told Arab News.
Girl, Arzoo. Refuses To Go Home After Sindh High Court Finds Her Marriage ‘Not
Raja flanked by police in Karachi, Pakistan, with Ali Azhar on far right. |
The Sindh High Court on Monday directed police to take action against those
responsible for an underage marriage after a medical board confirmed that young
Arzoo was around 14 years of age.
two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha sent Arzoo Fatima
back to a shelter home after she refused to go with her parents reiterating
that she contracted marriage and changed religion of her own free will.
bench observed that prima facie it was not possible for her to enter into a
legally valid marriage with Ali Azhar under the Sindh Marriages Restraint Act
2013 since she was under 18.
lawyer for the petitioner girl insisted that the marriage was in accordance
with federal law.
board says girl is 14; her lawyer’s argument is that the marriage was in
accordance with federal law
the bench said that it might consider the issue at another time and appropriate
forum whether the federal law can prevail over the provincial law after the
the outset of the hearing, the girl was produced again before the bench from
the shelter home and the judges asked her whether she was forced in any way to
convert from Christianity to Islam.
petitioner categorically stated that she converted to Islam of her own free
bench said that since on the last hearing, the girl also stated that she had
not been kidnapped by any party, but entered into marriage of her own free
will, the investigating officer of the case was directed to record the
statement of the girl under Section 161 of the criminal procedure code within
five-member special medical board, constituted on a court order to determine
the age of the petitioner, informed the bench in its report that “as per [bone]
ossification and physical appearance, the age of Mst. Arzoo D/O Raja Lal is to
be between fourteen to fifteen years nearer to (14) years”.
bench said it also noted that according to the birth certificate, ‘B’ form
issued by National Database and Registration Authority and the school
certificate as well as the affidavit of her father the petitioner was born on
July 31, 2007.
is apparent that the petitioner is under the age of 18. This being the case,
prima-facie it was not possible for her to enter into a legally valid marriage
with Ali Azhar under the Sindh Marriages Restraint Act 2013 and as such cannot
return to him,” the bench in its order said.
the girl was asked whether she wanted to go with her parents or to shelter
home, she replied that she was not willing to go to either of them.
these circumstances, the bench observed that it was left with no option but to
send her back to the Panah shelter home and directed it to ensure her
schooling, welfare and safety.
it would appear that an offence has been committed under the Sindh Marriages
Restraint Act and thus, the IO is directed to add such relevant sections to the
challans and carry out full investigation into this matter,” it said and added
that all those persons concerned in this underage marriage were also proceeded
with in accordance with law and the girl’s father had already named those
involved in the juvenile’s marriage in his comments filed before the bench.
bench also ruled that the petitioner would not be allowed to meet her alleged
husband at the shelter home and adjourned the matter till Nov 23 when the
Anti-Violent Crime Cell SSP and the IO of the case would appraise it about
bench made it clear that no person involved in the underage marriage should be
protected in any way and after proper investigation such persons may be
proceeded in accordance with law if found in breach thereof.
court order said, “In the meantime, while investigating this case, the police
shall act strictly in accordance with law and shall not cause any harassment to
Arzoo petitioned the SHC seeking a restraining order against the registration
of a kidnapping case against her spouse, in-laws and others by her family at
the Frere police station. On Oct 27, the bench had restrained the Frere police
from making any arrest and directed the Preedy SHO to provide protection to the
the parents of the girl submitted that she was 13 and forcibly converted to
Islam after being abducted. Thereafter, the incident of alleged abduction,
conversion and underage marriage had sparked protests from human rights bodies.
the provincial law officer filed an application in the SHC seeking placement of
the girl in the care of a shelter home to ensure her safety and protection.
Hazeera, A Muslim Woman, Waging A Spirited Battle Against The Police And Her
Harassers in Andhra Pradesh
Shaik Hazeera, a 30-year-old Muslim woman of Rayachoti in Andhra Pradesh’ YSR
Kadapa district, is waging a spirited battle against the police and her
harassers allegedly backed by the local YSRC lawmaker.
police framed Hazeera, an anganwadi worker, in a case by the local police,
charging her with criminal conspiracy—punishable with death under section-120
(B) —along with the several other sections of the IPC.
video she posted on facebook , narrating how she was being harassed by the
followers of the MLA with an appeal to Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy to
come to her rescue apparently incurred the wrath of the police. The video
showed her asking whether it is fair and appropriate on the part of the police
to invoke conspiracy charges against her for posting a video on the facebook.
She said she had to take to the social media to explain her version on the
social media posts of the lawmaker’s followers assassinating her character.
son of the local market yard chairman has been harassing me with sexual
advances. When I resisted, the harasser
and his men indulged in character assassination against me.
police failed to act on my complaint, but arbitrarily slapped a conspiracy case
against me”, Hazeera, a divorcee, told this writer.
the anganwadi centre where Hazeera works was set on fire a few days later. And,
her house was raided and her family members were manhandled by unknown persons.
Hazeera suspects the hand of the market yard chairman, a key follower of the
lawmaker and his son behind the arson. The police failed to respond on the
excess of the market yard chairman, she alleges.
moved the Andhra Pradesh High Court and got a stay, restraining the police from
proceeding against her in the case. “In the meantime, there shall be interim
stay of all further proceedings as the offences punishable under the 500, 501,
120 (B) & 506 are all non-cognizable offences and police cannot register
the crime for the said offences—), high court judge Justice M. Satyanarayana
observed in his ruling on October 1. As the stay was in force for two weeks
since the date of its granting by the court, Hazeera fears the police may
arrest her at any time.
loss of job
the meantime, Hazeera received a show-cause notice from the district Collector
through the Project Director, Women and Child Welfare department asking why she
should not be removed from job on grounds of “dereliction of duties”.
charges framed against her in the show-cause notice include diversion of food material from her
Anganwadi centre, absconding from duties, failure to produce 90 percent
attendance of children in 3-6 years age group at the centre, among others.
is feeding her aged mother and supporting education for her two sons with a
monthly allowance of Rs 10,000 which she earns as an Anganwadi teacher. She
suspects that the MLA at the instance of her harassers is behind the
Collector’s show-cause notice to remove her from the job.
will find it very difficult to feed my family without the job”, Hazeera lamented
Court Facilitates Young Woman’s Marriage After Stripping Father’s Guardianship
— A court in Saudi Arabia facilitated the marriage of a young woman after
stripping off the guardianship of her father who rejected many of the marriage
proposals that came her way.
judge transferred the woman’s guardianship to get her married with a young man,
who had proposed marriage to her. The ruling came following a complaint lodged
by the woman claiming that her father had rejected several proposals made by
young men to marry her.
Ministry of Justice stated that the court completed the legal procedures within
five days that resulted in her marriage after filing of the adl lawsuit by the
is a lawsuit by a woman against her guardian for obstructing her marriage. This
was in line with the regulations issued earlier by the Supreme Judiciary
Council to expedite adjudication of adl lawsuits.
the lawsuit, the young woman alleged that her father refused to get her married
with a number of young men, who had on various occasions, had proposed
the petition, the woman urged the court to transfer her guardianship to the judge,
paving the way for her marriage with the current suitor.
woman’s father, the defendant, failed to attend the court session, while the
young suitor was present who testified in the court that he was willing to
the court transferred the guardianship to the Shariah authority, represented by
the judge, and upheld the validity of their marriage.
the Kingdom, there have been several cases where young women have approached
the courts for help in getting married. The woman may go to the local court and
file an adl lawsuit against her guardian.
judge would first try to reconcile between the woman and her guardian. If the
judge fails to reconcile the two, then the judge will suggest to the guardian
that he transfers the guardianship of the woman to another blood relative.
the guardian rejects the suggestion, then the judge himself assumes the
guardianship of the woman. This is in line with article 33 of the Legal
Procedures Law that allows civil courts to look into cases of women who do not
have a guardian to marry them or cases of guardians who prevent them from
Arabia considers clemency for female activists ahead of G20
Wintour Diplomatic editor
Arabia is considering clemency for jailed female activists ahead of its hosting
of the G20 summit this month, the Saudi ambassador to the UK has said.
kingdom has been under growing pressure on its human rights record ahead of the
summit, which is to be held virtually on 21 and 22 November. This includes the
fate of a group of women who were prominent in the campaign for the right to
drive. One of the themes of the G20 is women’s empowerment.
to the Guardian, Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said the
Saudi courts had found the women guilty of more than advocating the right to
drive, but that a debate was under way in the foreign ministry about whether
their continued detention was causing Saudi Arabia so much political damage
that it was not worthwhile.
is rare for senior diplomats to give an insight into internal debates within
the often secretive court.
G20, does it offer an opportunity for clemency? Possibly. That is a judgment
for someone other than me,” he said. “People ask: is it worth the damage it is
causing you, whatever they did? That is a fair argument to make and it is a
discussion we have back at home within our political system and within our
is a variety of views. Some people say it doesn’t matter what other people
think of us, what is important is to do what is right for our country, and if
people knowingly break our laws they should be punished according to those
laws. Other people say it isn’t worth it, let them out, let them live their
lives and ignore them.”
of the jailed women, Loujain al-Hathloul has been on hunger strike in Al-Hayer
high security prison since 26 October in protest at her conditions there. A UN
women’s rights committee expressed alarm last week at her deteriorating health.
was arrested with nine other women’s rights advocates in May 2018, months
before women were finally granted the right to drive. Her family, including her
sister, claim she has been tortured. At least five of those arrested remain in
ambassador said there was merit in the arguments both for and against
clemency.“We are definitely moving in a different direction, but we are not a
western nation and people need to understand that some of our beliefs are
different,” he said.
sister Lina dismissed the ambassador’s remarks, saying: “This is simply a PR
stunt, again. Loujain and most of the jailed Saudi activists have not been
been nearly three years and they are still arbitrarily and illegally detained.”
ambassador also said he hoped the G20 meeting would adopt a long-term programme
of post-Covid debt relief for the world’s poorest countries.
Arabia has also been hit by Covid’s impact on economic activity and the fall in
the oil price and private sector investment. The government’s budget deficit is
predicted to widen to 12.8% of GDP this year from 4.5% in 2019, and Saudi
officials acknowledge privately that the government’s image has been a factor
in the drop in investment.
death of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed inside the Saudi
consulate in Istanbul in 2018, led to international outrage over what the CIA
and other western intelligence agencies concluded was an assassination ordered
by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Riyadh said Saudi agents had
killed him in a botched extradition operation.
G20 meeting had been intended as a showcase for a modernising and open Saudi
Arabia as world leaders arrived in Riyadh, but will now be a virtual summit and
may not last the two days allocated. It will also be one of the last
international set-pieces for Donald Trump, a close ally of Prince Mohammed.
Saudi government sent a message of congratulations to Joe Biden on Sunday. The
US president-elect has promised to review US-Saudi relations, including
Washington’s support for the Saudi intervention in Yemen.
dependence on Saudi oil has fallen markedly as a result of domestic shale gas
production, but the kingdom’s political stability is still a key US concern.
GDP is linked to the price of oil,” the ambassador said. “If oil prices were
high we would be less inclined to embrace reform of our economy, [but] oil is
on its way out either because it is finite, or due to climate change
are trying to develop economies that are not so reliant on oil. We have got to
try because if Saudi Arabia collapses economically it collapses politically,
and that is a bigger disaster than most people are aware of.”
ambitions for a debt package for low-income countries may be dashed by the
virtual format and disagreements between G20 members, primarily China and the
EU, over the length of the commitment.
ambassador said: “We will sadly miss that opportunity for two leaders to pull
each other aside and have a quick chat. It may make the communique a bit less
specific than we would like. It may have to be more pre-agreed than normal.”
Arabia wins ITU award for women empowerment
— The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia won a global award for empowering women, in the
sector of communications and information technology for the Year 2020.
award was accorded to the Kingdom by the International Telecommunication Union
achievement highlighted the ongoing support for the women’s role, in all
domains, reflecting the wise leadership keenness on promoting the new women
contribution would bolster the drive of the national development, in the
context of the National Shift Program as well as the ambitious anticipations of
the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. — SPA
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