Shehla Rashid Shora, a student’s leader and women rights activist, represented progressiveness and feminism in Delhi and elsewhere.
But, when it comes to Kashmir, Shora shocked everyone when she recently came in defense of a person who is accused of committing sexual harassment of girls.
Political interests triumphed over feminism. And, it also exposed the dual nature of the so called women right’s activist who can sacrifice her ideals on the altar of politics.
Shora, an aspiring politician who is considered very close to the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, shocked her own supporters, gender rights activists and rights defenders by batting for a self-proclaimed youth leader who now stands accused of “seeking sexual favours from girls” to get their jobs done.
After The Kashmir Press exposed an explicit chat conversation between one Owais Nanda and a woman (unnamed for obvious reasons) in which the former is coercing the latter to send him “nude pictures sans undergarments (bra) from ten different angles” to get her work done in exchange of the pictures.
Following the expose Mr. Nanda issued an apology. Shockingly, Ms. Shora projected the former’s apology as heroic in one of her many controversial tweets.
After a backlash she immediately deleted it like she deleted several of her factually incorrect and controversial tweets in the recent past.
What made Shora to come out and support Mr. Nanda? No one knows.
But, the grapevine is that that the accused used to project the image of Shora as a political leader and would often shore support for her programmes. So, there is every possibility that it might be the case of you scratch my back, and I scratch yours.
What is more shocking is the fact that Mr. Nanda in a detailed chat conversation (earlier released by The Kashmir Press with due permission of the woman involved) is asking for pictures of a woman sans bra.
Despite this, Shehla Rashid Shora lent her support and used her social media page to shower a heap of praises on the so-called youth leader Owais Nanda. Several girls have accused him of asking them for sexual favours in exchange of getting their works done.
Apart from this, several other women have approached The Kashmir Press with stories about Mr. Nanda, accusing him of having used his influence and proximity with people in powerful positions in politics and bureaucracy to exploit young girls and women in need of jobs.
Interestingly, Mr. Nanda had also threw weight behind the pro-women campaign led by the Kashmir Womens Collective (KWC), which has since become very controversial in the Kashmir Valley.
As a vocal student leader-turned politician Shehla Rashid Shora also lent her support to the KWC’s slanderous name-and-shame campaign. And worse, she tried to project an alleged perpetrator, Mr. Nanda, as a hero and a man with character.
This has eroded her personal credibility as an aspiring politician who shot to fame as a student leader at the Jawahar Lal Nehru University in New Delhi. From being a Left-leaning student leader she is now pursuing centrist politics in her second innings.
Sadly, the much publicised #MeToo campaign, which started from the United States for a noble cause of gender rights, justice and equality, has been trivialised in the Kashmir Valley because of the lack of credibility of core members of the KWC who have never raised voice against the state violence against women folk.
Many people are raising concerns over the KWC’s silence over the state violence against females from the Kunan Poshpora mass rape of the early 1990s to Asiya-Neelofar case of Shopian (2008) and to the recent one that of a minor girl in Rasana, Kathua in Jammu.
Several people on social media have questioned the KWC’s motives and asked whether the group is deliberately shielding and supporting some powerful bureaucrats, politicians and police officers against whom a few complaints have emerged in the public domain.
Shockingly, the KWC page admins have also demeaned many women who have disagreed with them and their style of functioning and called them “illiterate middle-aged women, aunties, bitchy and fan girls”.