Under fire for ‘selective activism’, ‘Kashmir Women’s Collective’ announce dissolution

Srinagar: Stung by controversies, ‘Kashmir Women’s Collective (KWC)’, a women group, has been disbanded after four of the five trustees resigned from it.

The immediate trigger was a recent collage of Kashmiri women influencers posted on the KWC Facebook page seeking online votes to choose the best achievers. It evoked a sharp reaction with some influencers objecting to using their name and pictures by the KWC.

 

“I refuse to be part of this campaign. This glossing over is unethical, unjust, and anti-liberation and is far from celebrating strong women’s voices. I have immense respect for some of the women on the list. I feel this balancing act is deeply problematic, reductionist, and erases years of our labour and struggle for liberation,” said Uzma Falak, a research scholar, poet, and filmmaker.

Formed in 2017, a Kashmir Women’s Collective (KWC) was modelled on Combahee River Collective, an organization of black feminists in the US from the 1970s and ’80s, which was critical of both white feminism’s exclusive focus on gender discrimination against white women, and the black community’s exclusive focus on racism against black men.

One of the cofounders of KWC told The Kashmir Monitor that four out of five trustees had resigned from the group.

“Our resignation legally implies that the group ceases to exist.  The structure is still in place, however.  We had agreed on the terms that whoever wants to restructure it can go ahead but not with the same name. Also, it should not appear as if it’s a continuation of the same organization. But that has been clearly violated,” the co-founder said, wishing anonymity.

She noted that the problems stemmed due to the difference of opinion. “The organization was formed on the basic principle that it is a democratic structure. However, our decisions were not taken on board and therefore we decided to quit,” she said.

In the last two years, KWC had been vocal on the issues of domestic violence, shelter homes, legal awareness, honour killings, acid attacks, human trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence.

“In this journey, I have put so many sincere efforts and my credibility should not be damaged like this,” the founding member said.

Similarly, another founding member, Subreen Malik, a lawyer by profession, took to Facebook to announce her dissociation.

“In the light of certain recent actions undertaken by individuals under the name of the KWC, this is to inform the general public that KWC no longer exists as a legal entity and the use of this name is misleading,” she said.

Malik pointed out that she and Arshie Qureshi resigned from Kashmir Women’s Collective last month.  “Anything that is posted on its social media or work is done under the name of the organization does not represent the erstwhile organization or its former trustees and members.

Malik noted that the recent actions are individual initiatives of some associated with the now-dissolved organization and are in no manner linked to the work that the trustees and members have done in the past two years.

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About the Author

When the world fails to make sense, Hirra Azmat seeks solace in words. Both worlds, literary and the physical lend color to her journalism.

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