Pulling down Jameela Nishat’s interview, apologise: Activists to TV channel

They demanded that Nishat apologise for casting aspersions on Muslim women and cease spreading false narratives.

Hyderabad: Activists from Hyderabad on Wednesday expressed strong condemnation of Jameela Nishat, also an activist, over statements she made about exploitation of girls, during an interview with a prominent news network.

Nishat’s allegations that girls in the Old City of Hyderabad were being exploited under the guise of marriage to Sheikhs, a misnomer of Arab men from the Gulf States, have been termed as baseless and damaging by nearly three dozen activists who endorsed a statement to this effect.

The podcast was carried on Asian News International, a popular news service.

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The activists contended that Ms Nishat’s claims were outdated and did not reflect the current realities. They emphasised that forced marriages to older Arab men, a practice that once existed due to poverty and dowry demands from within Hyderabad families, have ceased. The activists sought to refute Nishat’s assertion that areas like Baba Nagar, Shaheen Nagar, Barkas, and Hasan Nagar continue to be hubs of such exploitative practices, and accused her of unfairly stigmatising these neighbourhoods.

The statement took specific objection to a case that Nishat cited, in which a girl, identified as X, was allegedly married seven times in a month. The activists clarified that X was married three times over six months and that legal action was taken against the Qazis involved.

Furthermore, the activists underscored the detrimental impact of Nishat’s statements on the community. They stated that such allegations adversely affected the prospects of young Muslim boys and girls in finding jobs, educational opportunities, and marriages. The statement also criticised Nishat for making generalisations of social issues, which they maintained were seen across communities. Attributing them solely to Muslims, and narrating unsubstantiated horror stories about Muslim men, was wrong, they argued.

The activists underscored the significant progress made in the Old City of Hyderabad, with many girls excelling in higher education and professional fields. They cited examples such as Syeda Falak, a karate champion, and Salwa Fathima, a commercial pilot, as cases in point.

They demanded that Nishat apologise for casting aspersions on Muslim women and cease spreading false narratives. In addition to this, they asked for the episode to be pulled down from all platforms.

The statement sent to the Siasat.com email address carried the names of the following activists as signatories:

Khalida Parveen; Sarah Mathews; S.Q. Masood; Noorjahan Siddiqui; Dr. Veena Shatrughna; Kaneez Fathima; Bannuru Jyothi; Radha; Prof. Aisha Faruqi; Khatija Unnisa; Maria Arifuddin; Nikhat Fatima; A Suneetha; Asiya Ahmed Khan; M.A. Shakeel; Dr. Atifa Shareef; Syeda Nazima; Dr. Asra Sultana; Sharifa Siddiqui; Dr. Minhaj Fathima; Abdul Azeem; Farhana Khan; P. Shankar; Dr. Mohammed Moinuddin Hasan Altaf; Manzoor Ahmed Khan; Atika Fatima; Shaik Mohammed Yasar; Salma Fathima; Afshan Jabeen; Adv. Qudsia Tabassum; Syed Majid Shuttari; Shaik Kareem Basha and; Maheen Fatima.

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