Rafia Naz, a Yoga teacher from Hatia area in Ranchi, Jharkhand who is now a well-known name in the field of Yoga, has been the target of radical members from her own community on multiple occasions for years for merely following her passion. This brave woman, who considers yoga to be beyond religion and has been targeted for daring to teach Yoga despite being a Muslim, has been particularly upset because of the apathy shown towards her by the Jharkhand government. Despite her life being in danger, she has alleged that the JMM/Congress government headed by Hemant Soren has refused to take cognizance of the issue and provide her with any sort of protection or help.
Speaking to OpIndia, Rafia said that she had written a letter to the state government and had visited the Jharkhand Mantralay on June 16 (Tuesday), with an intention to submit her letter and meet the CM and his Principal Secretary Sanjay Kumar to plead to the state government to provide her protection, but Rafia alleged that she was not allowed to enter the premises. “I wanted to bring this matter to their notice by giving a letter to Chief Minister Hemant Soren and his Principal Secretary, but I was driven away from outside the gate,” said Rafia.
Rafia Naz rebukes state goverment for its insensitivity
Rafia said that she clearly stated to the security that she was a Yoga teacher and her life was at threat. She even informed that she had met the CM Hemant Soren and the Principal Secretary earlier and wanted to meet them to give them a letter, but she was not allowed to go inside. The security did not even bother to listen to her properly and asked her to leave. In the given situation, Rafia wondered if her mails will also be acknowledged by the state government or not.
With a heavy heart, Rafia said that she had also gone live on Facebook to narrate her ordeal. How she waited outside the Jharkhand Mantralay for over one and a half hours but was not allowed to meet the CM. Rebuking the state government for its insensitivity, she said that if anything untoward incident happens with her or her family the onus would lie on the state government. Calling out the state government’s hypocrisy Rafia said: “Its shocking how on one hand they speak of protecting women rights and on the other hand they display such impassivity towards a woman in duress”.
Rafia has approached the chief minister, SSP, DIG several times. She has also sent innumerable emails to Chief Minister’s Public Dialogue Center but to no avail. When she approached them through Twitter, the administration deferred the issue by saying that they would look into the matter, but no concrete action has been taken until now, said Rafia.
Police letter a hoax?
As we tried to delve further, we asked her whether she was provided with any kind of security from the state government? Rafia Naz answered that in 2019 she had received a letter from the state police asking her to inform them whenever she needs to go out of her house. The letter read that in such a situation, police would arrange for her security. Now, after the lockdown has been relaxed, Rafia needs to go to give Yoga classes at some orphanage. “Now, when I need protection, no one at the police station or the state administration is willing to hear my plea. Was that letter just a hoax?” asked Rafia, revealing how precarious her situation is.
Rafia Naz more concerned for her family’s protection
Speaking to OpIndia, Rafia said that the threats do not bother her anymore. She has been receiving them for over 3 to 4 years, but what bothers her is the danger looming on her family. Recollecting the unnerving incidents of her past, Rafia said that because of her stand to keep teaching Yoga, even her family attracted the ire of those radicals. They were constantly abused and threatened. Rafia said that now when she is screaming that she needs protection the administration is turning a deaf ear. “Nobody is bothering to listen to me, what would the administration do if something untoward happens with me or my family? If I die, the state administration should be held accountable, I will name everyone before I die, said the Jharkhand girl.
Round the clock security provided by previous government
Rafia furthered that after she was tired of pleading on front of the state government, she approached the ex-CM of Jharkhand, Raghuvar Das. In 2017, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das had taken cognizance and provided Rafia with 24-hour security, which has recently been withdrawn. “I do not know why it has been removed. At that time, Rapid Action Force (RAF) and CRPF personnel were stationed outside my house”, recollected Naz. With the hope that Das would help her, Rafia approached the ex-CM who she said has given her the assurance that he would help her out.
OpIndia also got in touch with Raghuvar Das. He confirmed that he was approached by Rafia and has assured that action will be taken soon.
Rafia furthered that during the lockdown, she had filed an FIR online against one Najib Raja who had abused her on Facebook. However, Jharkhand police took no action against the accused, said Rafia.
Jharkand police apathy
Speaking to OpIndia, Rafia at this point, recollected how she has struggled to get justice for herself and her family but seldom succeeded. She has been advised to stop using a mobile phone or change her number in case she gets threat messages. Whenever she has tried to lodge a complaint with the Jharkhand police, she has received disappointment. If she approached them with a complaint regarding receiving vulgar posts on social media, she was advised by the police to stop using social media. If she approached them with a complaint that stone was pelted at her home, they advised her to change the house.
Rafia Naz goes on to apprise us with a mortifying incident of her past which left her and her family members flustered. She recollected how once her morphed nude pictures were circulated in social media by members of her own community for daring to defy their conservative rationale. She said that despite complaining to authorities and sharing details of like the ID, URL, link, etc., the posts were not blocked.
Even during the lockdown, Rafia said she had to face several hardships but she kept quiet, but now she said she demands justice. The bold teacher, who always considers yoga to be beyond religion, said that she has been facing challenges for many years now, but the insensitivity should by the Jharkhand government has particularly disheartened and demotivated her.