The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the Congress party’s ally in Kerala, has on Wednesday, September 8, disbanded the state committee of Haritha- the women’s wing of the Muslim Students Federation (MSF), over ‘gross indiscipline. The decision came after the women members refused to withdraw their sexual harassment complaint filed with the Kerala Women’s Commission against some of the male MSF leaders, who allegedly used derogatory remarks against them.
Muslim League state general secretary PMA Salam announced the decision during the party’s high power committee meeting in Malappuram, saying the Haritha leaders’ “gross indiscipline” had prompted the party leadership to dissolve Haritha’s current committee.
The women members of Haritha have, in turn, threatened to move the court after the parent organisation Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), hurriedly dissolved the state committee after it refused to take back its complaint against their male counterparts.
Ten members of the state committee of Haritha-MSF filed a complaint with the State Women’s Commission against a couple of their male counterparts in the MSF for allegedly using derogatory remarks and abusive language during a Haritha-MSF state committee meeting held in Kozhikode on June 22.
According to allegations levelled by the Haritha leaders, MSF leaders referred to them as “infertile feminists.” When the Haritha leaders had during a Haritha-MSF state committee meeting expressed their opinions, PK Navas allegedly responded by saying that “even prostitutes” have opinions, and that the Haritha wing leaders may thus speak theirs as well.
Haritha had approached the commission after there was no response from the League leadership on the issue.
Following the Muslim League’s intervention, MSF state president PK Navas, who is accused of making derogatory statements against women members, though expressed remorse for the event but maintained his assertion that he did not say anything with the wrong intention.
The League had then ordered the Haritha to withdraw its complaint to the women’s commission at the time.
Though the Muslim League leadership had given the Haritha leaders an ultimatum to withdraw their petition before the SWC, the women remained steadfast in their complaint against the male leaders.
In a news conference in mid-August, Haritha-MSF leader and MSF National Vice President Fathima Tahliya had asserted that the humiliation and emotional pain caused by the disparaging remarks prompted Haritha’s 10 state committee leaders to take action against MSF’s male office-bearers.
Last month, the IUML put restrictions on MSF-state Haritha’s committee, accusing its leaders of making internal divisions public.