This Article is From Aug 28, 2010

Young woman takes on Kerala's 'Taliban'

Kasaragod: For nearly a year, Rayana had been receiving death threats from fundamentalists for not wearing the veil. Now, this 23-year old engineering graduate from Kasaragod has spoken out.

"One man called me and threatened me. I got many such threatening letters, in that the man wrote that he will kill me," said Rayana R Khasi, Engineering Graduate.

Rayana received many threatening letters from Muslim fundamentalists for not wearing purdah. One of them clearly states that if she does not fall in line by the 26th of this month, she will be killed.

After initial hesitation by the police to register a case, Rayana moved the High Court. The police have now arrested four persons who threatened her.

One of the suspects is believed to be a member of Popular Front of India, the radical group that was involved in chopping off a lecturer's hand last month.

"The High Court of Kerala has directed Kasaragod police to give protection to the lady. On that basis, we have given her 24-hour protection," said P Prakash, Superintendent of Police, Kasaragod.

Rayana's case has sparked outrage across the state.

"It is actually Talibanisation, if you insist on a particular dress code," said K K  Shailaja, State Secretary, All India Democratic Womens' Association (AIDWA).

"This is a violation of not only fundamental rights but also human rights," said Justice D Sridevi, Chairperson, Kerala Women's Commission.

Rayana believes her bold step will encourage many young women like her to speak out against such oppressive diktats.