My Answer To PM Imran Khan’s Remark On Minorities In India

I came across a statement by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan where he said that “We will show the Modi government how to treat minorities Even in India, people are saying minorities are not being treated as equal citizens”. I think that Imran Khan is not aware who second class citizens are and how they live in merciless conditions.

If they want to see the history of second class citizens then they must look into what happened to the minority of Tamils in Sri Lanka when their voting rights, educational rights were taken away by the government. This led to a civil war which lasted for more than two decades and took the lives of many people including our former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and 1200 Indian soldiers. Imran Khan can also go to Myanmar and see the condition of Rohingyas first and then he should say anything to us.

There’s no doubt that Bulandshahr violence was a dark spot on Indian democracy and the brutal murder of inspector Subodh was a tight slap on the face of law and order machinery of Uttar Pradesh. And that is why recently more than 80 IAS, IFS, ICS officers have written a letter to PM Narendra Modi asking him to suspend Yogi Adityanath from the post of CM of Uttar Pradesh which is a valid demand – because he is not fit for the post of UP CM and either his government should be suspended under article 356 which talks of President rule or either he should resign willingly.

The first option is not suitable because  BJP has a clear mandate in the state and therefore the second option is required for a stable government at this moment – the same views also came when Muzzafarnagar riots happened due to the negligence of Akhilesh Yadav’s government.

Naseerudin Shah Remarks

This clash has happened due to Naseerudin Shah’s remarks that he feels afraid here after the Bulandshahr violence, where the accused of cow slaughter were arrested but not inspector Subodh’s murderers who have been identified from the day of violence. The  perpetrators apparently even made videos while committing this crime and just because of Shah’s remark Imran Khan has made the statement similar to what Qaide e azam said that after Independence, “Muslims will become second class citizens in India”. But I would like to say thanks to Naseerudin Shah who recently slammed Imran Khan in an interview given to Sunday Express by saying “I think Mr Khan should be walking the talk in his own country instead of commenting on issues that don’t concern him. We have been a democracy for 70 years and we know how to look after ourselves”

A Reality Check For PM Imran Khan

You said that Jinnah was against the British – then why he did he support British against Quit India Movement? Why did he support British when every person in undivided India was against the British rule? Moreover, this was the same Pakistan where Fatima Jinnah faced many political issues after the death her brother Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This was same Pakistan which was rejected by Jinnah’s daughter Dina Wadia.

In the book by Fatima Jinnah named ‘My Brother’ she has alleged that the leaders of Muslim League, and especially Prime Minister Liyaqaut Ali Khan wanted Jinnah’s death in 1948. This was the same Pakistani government which massacred 3 lac people in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) as stated in Habib Ur Rehman Committee report, and everyone knows about the military actions which were taken by President Zulfekar Ali Bhutto to crush armed struggles in Baluchistan, Pakhtunwala. So, do you really think that this is the Pakistan Jinnah dreamed of?

If you see the political history of Muslim League – before the partition of Bengal, Khyber Pakhtunwala Muslim League was in power or if I talk about Khyber Pakhtuwala or NWFP there from 1937-47 – Indian National Congress Came to power twice and Muslim league only once. During Partition congress was in power in NWFP and in Bengal. They formed a coalition government with Hindu Mahasabha in Punjab, and they were not in power in Sindh, Baluchistan where a Communist party was in power. How come Jinnah become the leader of Muslims when he was not in full majority in Muslim provinces?

So, it is my humble advice to PM Imran Khan to look after his own country and don’t care about ours. And if he has any doubt he should check the comments/tweets by our Indian Muslim brothers and sisters who are slamming him for his remarks. He should also read Naseerudin Shah’s remarks on his statement that will be an eye opener for him.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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