Published: 19th December 2019
Meet Kochi law student Indulekha Parthan. Can you identify her by her dress?
Indulekha was part of the student protest march against CAA on December 19. She wore a Hijab and Burkha to the march and her image has since become a symbol of sorts
On December 15, while addressing a rally in Jharkhand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that "those indulging in arson can be identified by their clothes." The comment was made at a time in which protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act erupted in various parts of India, calling it discriminatory and Islamophobic in nature.
Four days later, a group of around 1000 students assembled in front of Kochi's Rajendra Maidan and marched to the Reserve Bank of India building to protest the act. Among the crowd, stood an 18-year-old wearing a black burkha and a purple hijab, shouting out slogans, expressing solidarity. The placard in her hand read, "Mr Modi, I am Indulekha. Identify me by my dress?"
Indulekha Parthan's photograph had since gone viral. A lot of people across different social media platforms and a number of newspapers and websites have shared the photograph of this non-Muslim student dressed as a Muslim. "I thought this was the best way to let our Prime Minister hear my views. I can't go and tell him that I oppose what he said," says Indulekha.
The internet's reaction was obviously not all positive. In a day, Indulekha tells us, that she was subjected to a lot of trolling and namecalling. "I've been called a lot of nasty things. I wanted to retaliate, but I cannot correct anyone. So, I kept silent," she says.
Did the trolls scare her? She says, "I am not scared. If we have our family with me, we don't have to fear at all." However, she says that her parents were tensed after seeing her photograph being widely circulated. "But I never said anything defamatory or demeaning. I know that I am right," she says.
Indulekha tells us that she isn't a member of any political party. That was in fact, the biggest reason behind her joining the protest on December 18, which was organised by a students' collective and not any political party. "I have my own clear politics. However, I do not like political parties. So, when I heard that the protest was not organised by any political party, I thought of going ahead and participating. I thought it will be amazing if a march like this becomes successful," she says.
The protest on December 18 was organised in a jiffy. "We literally had no time. However, we had to organise it quickly since the Chief Minister and the leader of opposition protested on December 16," says Indulekha.
Indulekha also tells us why she opposes NRC and CAA. "Both of them are interconnected. The current CAA amendment nullifies against all the other amendments. You can't exclude a religion completely. This shows how we're going ahead with Hindutva," she says.