Former panel’s dissolution not linked to abuse plaints, says Haritha general secretary
The IUML leadership still faces criticism for its action, which came after Haritha members accused their male colleagues in the MSF of verbal abuse and cyber bullying.
MALAPPURAM: The current state committee of Haritha, the women’s wing of the Muslim Students Federation (MSF), led by president P H Ayisha Banu and general secretary Rumaiza Rafeeq, will turn two in September. It assumed charge after the Indian Union Muslim League disbanded the former panel, led by Mufeeda Thesni and Najma Thabsheera, for disciplinary reasons.
The IUML leadership still faces criticism for its action, which came after Haritha members accused their male colleagues in the MSF of verbal abuse and cyber bullying. Rumaiza talks to TNIE about the response of the IUML leadership to issues faced by Haritha members and its general attitude to the empowerment of women.
Is it true that the former committee was disbanded after members raised complaints against their MSF male colleagues?
Members of the former committee, including Najma Thabsheera, remain active members of the organisation. However, the committee has a two-year tenure and the former panel had exceeded its term, when the IUML decided to name a new committee. The decision was unrelated to the complaints raised by former Haritha leaders against their MSF colleagues.
How do you respond to assertions that action taken against the former committee is proof that IUML is not a women-friendly organisation?
No one can say the IUML is not women-friendly. Haritha’s various programmes were initially presented to the League leadership for approval. If the IUML were not women-friendly, it would not have sanctioned the proposals. The IUML consistently works towards empowering women. In a step towards ensuring women’s representation, it plans to reserve 20% of leadership positions in MSF and MYL for women. The League is a progressive and forward-thinking party.
Do you believe you would have encountered similar consequences if you had been a member of the former Haritha committee?
I have been general secretary of the committee for nearly two years, and I have not encountered any such situations. And, I do not anticipate mistreatment on the part of my male colleagues. Haritha operates under the umbrella of the MSF and, if any issues arise, the leadership would first consult with the MSF brass.
Do you believe that female students should be excluded from going on stage to receive their certificates, considering an incident last year where a Samastha leader objected to it?
Samastha is an organisation with religious affiliations, and it has its own set of opinions. On the other hand, the IUML is a political party that actively supports the empowerment of women. I can attest to the fact that the IUML has appointed me as a state leader and provided me with the skills and opportunities even to address the media.
Do you believe that all political parties, including the IUML, are predominantly male-dominated?
Former CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was once questioned by journalists about the possibility of reserving 50% of seats in the state committee for women. In response, he asked if the question was meant to undermine or harm the party. This reflects the mindset of many male political leaders. Yes, it is true that most political parties are male-dominated.