Kashmiri woman leader faces obscene comments for performing Yoga ‘despite being a Muslim’

We have recently seen how trolls viciously trolled targeted Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra and Fatima Sana Shaikh among other women celebrities for not conforming to what they thought was ideal and “moral”. Not only entertainment professionals, even woman leaders like Union Minister Smriti Irani has been on the receiving end of the trolls. And now it has happened with a woman leader from Kashmir.

Dr. Hina Shafi Bhat, who is a dental surgeon and a BJP leader from Kashmir, was abused and subjected to humiliating comments just because she participated in an International Day of Yoga event in Jammu & Kashir on Wednesday.

It all began when a leading Newspaper of J&K, Daily Excelsior posted the image of Dr. Hina Bhat on their Facebook page. Hordes of trolls decided to attack her for this act, targeting her affiliation with the BJP and accusing her of being against Islam and the ‘Kashmiri struggle’.

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Nearly all of the abusive comments were made by Kashmiri men, some of whom sent ‘laanat’ (curse) and ‘shame’ to Hina, while others stooped to accusing her of ‘sleeping with ministers’ and other such obscene and sexist comments. Many of these comments are still there on the Facebook page and not deleted despite it being pointed out on the social media.

It was clear from the comments that these trolls were upset by the fact that Dr. Hina was doing Yoga while being a Muslim. One comment wrote “Nimaz traweth Yoga karakh” in local language, which loosely means “she is doing yoga, leaving our faith”.

Dr. Hina had to face similar comments on another Facebook page that shares news from J&K. One user asked her to ‘drink cow urine too’ after doing yoga, while another accused her of trying to ‘shape’ her body through yoga (as if that is some vile thing to do). Another comment read “Nimaz to padti nahi yoga karti hai yeh jahnam mein jalay gi” (she doesn’t offer namaaz but does yoga, she will burn in hell fire). More than 200 comments were left on her picture with most being sexist attacks and religious sermons.

Muslim woman abused for performing yoga
A sample of vitriolic hate that Dr. Hina Bhat was subjected to for performing yoga.

Dr. Hina Bhat, whose father was an MP from J&K on National Conference ticket, had contested the assembly elections on BJP ticket from Kashmir’s AmiraKadal constituency in 2014. She was participating in a function organised on the International Day of Yoga along with Deputy Chief Minister of the state Dr Nirmal Singh and others in Srinagar.

It should be noted that many Islamic and Muslim majority countries have been participating in International Yoga Day events since 2015 when it was first organised. However, back in India, it has faced protests from ‘secular’ and some Muslim quarters for being ‘Hindutva’ agenda.

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