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Kerala: Harassment charge on IUML student leader

Members of the then state committee of Haritha had in a complaint accused the two leaders of using sexually explicit remarks and humiliating them
Representational image.
Representational image.

K.M. Rakesh   |   Bangalore   |   Published 05.11.21, 02:33 AM

One of the two Indian Union Muslim League student leaders accused by women colleagues of harassment and misogyny has been named in the chargesheet.

Kerala police have not explained why they have only named the state president of the IUML-affiliated Muslim Students’ Federation, P.K. Navas, but excluded the MSF’s Malappuram district president, V. Abdul Vahab.

Ten members of the then state committee of Haritha, the MSF women’s wing, had in a complaint to the state women's commission accused the duo of using sexually explicit remarks and humiliating them. The commission directed the police to start a case.

Following this, the IUML dissolved the Haritha state committee and later reconstituted it with a new set of members. But Navas and Vahab continued in their posts.

After much dilly-dallying, the police arrested Navas in September and released him on bail. The FIR named Vahab too but he was not arrested.

Police sources said the chargesheet, filed before a Kozhikode court on Thursday, invokes penal code sections 354A (sexual harassment) and 509 (insulting the modesty of a woman) against Navas.

Najma Thabsheera, then Haritha state general secretary, had alleged that Haritha members had faced “verbal rape after rape” from some MSF leaders for defending gender rights.

Vahab is accused of sending abusive messages to a Haritha leader.

Fathima Thahliya, who was national vice-president of the MSF when the controversy broke out and was removed for standing up for her women colleagues, expressed dissatisfaction at the investigation.

“The case dragged on as if no one was interested in investigating. The MSF didn’t even submit the minutes of the meeting to the police,” she told The Telegraph on Thursday.

But she said Haritha’s stand against misogyny had caused a visible change in attitude among some women.

“Even women who have nothing to do with politics come and hug us and say we have given them a voice. While we want the guilty to be punished, the larger goal is empowering women,” she said.

The IUML is a constituent of the Congress-led United Democratic Front.

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