Once Labelled As A ‘Stone Pelter’, Afshan Ashiq Is Now Jammu & Kashmir’s Football Star

Last year in April, a picture of Afshan Ashiq pelting stones went viral.

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Afshan was always an avid footballer but the national media portrayed her as ‘Kashmiri footballer forced to vent her ire by pelting stones’. On April 13, she was snapped by the photographer, her anger was against the Kashmiri Police. Her one-off reaction was triggered by a J&K cop and as well as the slapping of a team member she was escorting to the grounds.

A report suggested that eyewitnesses at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk, where scores of students clashed with police and paramilitary personnel to protest against the police action that left over 50 students injured at Pulwama’s Government Degree College on April 13, recalls Ashiq unleashing a volley of stones at the security forces. This is what Afshan had to say:

“We were walking peacefully towards the ground, but then a police officer started to abuse me and my group of girls. Another policeman slapped one of the girls and then we protested,” she said.

“We might be women, but we are not weak. The police abuse us and our family members as they have no regard towards women,”

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The incident, however, according to Afshan has turned around her career and helped introduce many young girls to the male-dominated sport. She is now the captain of the Jammu and Kashmir women’s football team.

Not only that, she also plays for the Mumbai club and Javed Jaffery is making a biopic on her life. Afshan had this to say when asked whether she regrets anything:

 “I don’t regret anything. I would not have picked up a stone had it not been for the misbehaviour of the police,” she insisted
“But now I have a reputation and image to maintain. I want to focus on football and make my state and nation proud,”

The need of the hour is to understand and respect each other and Afshan’s story is just the motivation we need to look past our differences.

H/T: India Today.

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Shivani Ahuja

Finds poetry in the simplest things.

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