On Thursday, March 26th, Afghan students of Jamia Millia Islamia organized a demonstration and candle-light vigil on-campus in memory of Farkhunda, a 27-year-old Afghan girl who was killed by a mob in Kabul a week ago on March 19th.
Saeeda Shirzad, an Afghan student Jamia Journal spoke to about the demonstration, said: “The manner in which she (Farkhunda) was killed does not behoove a civilized society like ours, it was gruesome and we were here to demand justice for Farkhunda and fight against violence, extremism, and brutality in our country.”
The students started their demonstration by reading out loud a short note on Farkhunda’s life and a narration of events that led to her death. (Printed in full below). Following which, Prof. S.A.M. Pasha, Department of Political Science, JMI also addressed the crowd.
This was followed by a theatrical re-enactment of the tragic incident by a troupe of Jamia student performers.
After the re-enactment, students observed a vigil by lighting candles in Farkhunda’s memory.
The demonstration came to an end with the Afghan students reading out loud a resolution addressed to the government of Afghanistan demanding justice for Farkhunda. (Printed in full below.)
A note on Farkhunda, read out at the candlelight vigil on Thursday:
Life History of an Innocent Woman: Farkhunda
Farkhunda, the slogan of justice seeking in the voice of men and women of today, the victim of extremism, ignorance and brutality in Afghanistan. The 27 year old Farkhunda’s tragic death in Kabul on 19th March has shaken the collective conscience of a nation.
This is not a history of long time past; this is the incident which took place on Thursday 19th March 2015 in the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul.
Brief Biography of Farkhunda:
The Martyr Farkhunda was born 27 years ago in a Muslim Family in Kapisa province, which is located at a distance of 60 kms from Kabul. She graduated from Ayshah-e-Sediqa Madrasah and had memorized all chapters of the Holy Quran. She was a censor and a real Muslim. She used to pray and attend events for spreading the Islamic instructions and studies among men and women in her village and society.
Farkhunda spent her free time volunteering for the Masjid and Islamic institutions.
Murder of Farkhunda:
On 19th March two days before Nowroz celebration, she, as usual, came to the Shah-e-Do Shamshira historic Masjid to clean and sweep the Masjid. Little did she know, she was living the last moments of her life in this world and was about to face the most difficult day in her life.
Farkhunda was violently lynched by a group of men outside the Masjid in Kabul for allegedly desecrating a copy of the Holy Quran inside a local shrine.
According to her family, Farkhunda intervened into a heated argument with some mullahs masquerading as faith healers who sell amulets (Tawez) to people inside the shrine.
During the course of the argument, Farkhunda was accused of burning the Quran by the Mullah and then the Mullah shouted in the crowd of the common people who were present in the shrine courtyard. The argument caught the attention of the people. After announcement, a few second later, people got closer to the Masjid corridor and forced defenseless Farkhunda to come out of the Masjid corridor.
Indeed, the yelling and the accusations against Farkhunda by the Mullah among the ignorant people was the ring of death for Farkhunda.
Moment by moment the crowd increasingly gathered and turned into a mob. The mob came closer to Farkhunda and finally they took her out of the Masjid corridor by force. The mob accused her that she burned the Quran. So, they accused, abused and badly tortured her. But she repeatedly kept saying that “I am a Muslim and Muslims never burn the Quran, it is not true, it is a lie.” In spite of that, the mob ignored her and they beat Farkhunda to death.
She was beaten by more than 40 people, hit by bats and stones, was partially undressed. She was then driven over by a car and her dead body dragged by a car before finally the mob set on fire.
The most shocking fact of this incident is that all of this happened while the police were present at the scene. But they did nothing. The did not even protect the victim and settle the case.
The question she repeatedly asked at the last moments of her life was: “What is my sin? What is my sin?” Nobody heard her cry for help and nobody cared about her innocent voice and last wishes.
Today she is not with us, but her aims and voice remain forever and unforgettable.
This is why today we come together and seek justice for Farkhunda and fight against violence, ignorance, extremism and injustice. She gave her life in order to give a starting point to civil rights movement in Afghanistan. Evidence of such a movement is the fact Farkhunda’s body was buried by women only — a first in the history of Afghanistan.
We are all Farkhunda and we want Justice for ourselves!
Afghan Students of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
Resolution by Afghan Students of Jamia Millia Islamia to the Government of Afghanistan:
Words like ‘freedom’, ‘justice’ and ‘democracy’ are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare. People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous, and above all, individual effort to arrive at the respect for other people that these words imply
The recent tragedy in Afghanistan which Farkhunda a 27 years old Afghan lady is indispensable to the accumulation of the kind of social, capital that is conductive to vital mental development, peace, justice and civility against the destructive massive mob extremism in the society, the transparency of comprehensive brutality of killing Farkhunda in crowd, cruel death, lynched and burning her dead body. Farkhunda has become voice against mob extremism in society. We afghan students have come together that to condemn the brutality and inhuman act of that mob and we are going to put our demands to Afghanistan government as follow:
1. The government of Afghanistan must identify the elements and stimulants of this incident and draw them to justice with decisive encounter.
2. We want from the judiciary and special committee of investigation that they must follow this event seriously.
3. The government of Afghanistan and the judiciary of country must share results of their work through media to people of Afghanistan as soon as possible.
4. We ask for the serious and decisive follow up of governmental high authorities and Mullahs who supported perpetrators and fundamentalist with their irresponsible statements.
5. We seriously ask for dismissal and trial of security authorities and the soldiers who neglected their duties to defend Farkhunda.
6. Ministry of women affair and educational institutions should raise awareness about women rights.
7. Shorai Olama of Afghanistan should make policy for elimination of superstitions from society.
8-Ministry of Haj owqaf should not permit the use of masjid and madrasas for political purposes.
9. We strongly ask from the government of Afghanistan that it must not victimize social stability to extremism.
10. Civil society should not leave the justice advocacy in middle and they should continue to their movement until justice achieved.
Afghan Students of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
26 March 2015