NEW DELHI: Shehla Rashid Shora, the first Kashmiri girl to contest and win the Central Panel elections at the the Jawaharlal Nehru University, says that she found the political space in her state "too restricted".
Shora, a candidate of left-backed All India Students Union (AISA), was sworn in as the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) Vice President amid shouts of "lal salaam" here yesterday. The engineer-turned-activist polled 1,387 votes, maximum by any candidate this year. She trumped BJP youth wing ABVP's Valentina Brahma by 234 votes.
"After studying engineering and management, I entered the corporate world only to be disillusioned by it. Turning an activist, I raised issues of juvenile justice and acid attacks in Kashmir but I found the political space there too restricted," she said. "At JNU, I found there is enough space to articulate your political spirit. The challenge, however, was to convince voters in favour of a Kashmir woman from a non-political background," she added.
Asked about the issues she plans to focus on during her tenure, she listed 24X7 health centre, translation cell, reduction in minimum eligibility criteria for OBC students, more hostels and upgradation of on-campus safety. Shora said she wants "to confront the rise of the right-wing ideology" to prevent it from changing the "real history".
"Left has a progressive ideology and hence, a progressive understanding is needed in the society. There is a forthcoming neo-liberal attack on education, another anti-people onslaught of the BJP government, which we must resist," she said.