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  India   All India  02 Jul 2019  Activist says Zaira was face of Kashmiri girls, but not anymore

Activist says Zaira was face of Kashmiri girls, but not anymore

THE ASIAN AGE. | VIKRAM SHARMA
Published : Jul 2, 2019, 7:14 am IST
Updated : Jul 2, 2019, 7:14 am IST

Now, his sister Nida Rafiq, all of 22, who too is preparing for exams to join the armed forces, is on a difficult mission.

Zaira Wasim
 Zaira Wasim

Hyderabad: Her brother Nabeel Ahmed Wani made the country proud when he topped the All India entrance exam of the Border Security Force (BSF) around the time the Kashmir Valley was on the boil following the killing of terrorist Burhan Wani in 2016. Now, his sister Nida Rafiq, all of 22, who too is preparing for exams to join the armed forces, is on a difficult mission.

Nida Rafiq, who has completed her BTech, has recently started a campaign “Say no to burqa for women” across Jammu and Kashmir, which, according to her, is slowly picking up. The family lives in Latti village in Udhampur district of J&K.

“Since a majority of women in Kashmir are not on social media, we are using WhatsApp to spread our message of no burqa besides convincing women whom we meet at marriages, functions etc,” Nida Rafiq told this newspaper over the phone.

“We send them videos to explain why covering the face is just not required and then counsel them on WhatsApp. We have so far convinced 80 women and they now wear a burqa without covering their face, and this is just the beginning.”

She said it was an achievement that many women in the valley “have at least started to discuss and acknowledge that there is no need to cover their face.

Once, when a religious leader told her to cover her head with a dupatta, Nida gave it back to him. “He was characterless as he had married two women. Due to the no burqa campaign, many maulvis who are scaring everyone are now getting scared. Sania Mirza is a Muslim and she is wonderful at tennis. Does her skirt offend the religion? Not at all. It is all in the mind,” says the forthright young woman.

“A burqa is regressive and therefore there should be no place for the veil in Kashmir.”

She also talks about Zaira Wasim, the Kashmiri born Bollywood star who bid goodbye to the film industry saying it damaged her peace, imaan and her relationship with Allah. Zaira was the face of Kashmiri girls, Nida says, but not anymore.

“Zaira was our motivation but by surrendering before the threats, she has let us down. She has chosen pseudo-rituals over women’s empowerment. Zaira Wasim may have let us down but we will not give up,” Nida says, adding that her campaign has sparked off a debate among women in the Kashmir Valley.

Tags: zaira wasim, burqa
Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad