Livid over the recent death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, which has triggered massive protests in Iran, women of Iranian descent living in India have supported the agitation, while condemning the strict societal rules for women in their home country.
Mahsa was detained by the ‘morality police’ for apparently not complying with the Hijab rules. Post the action, the young woman ended up in a hospital and subsequently passed away on Tuesday.
Agitated over the loss of a young life, 29-year-old Sehar Ali is not “surprised” about Mahsa’s death. For her, it’s part of a regular occurrence in Iran where women are denied their basic human rights.
“Women are toys or tools for men in Iran. Everything has changed in Iran in the last seventeen years since the Guidance Patrol (morality police) was established. Women don’t have any right to wear what they want and to do what they want. Girls are tortured and captivated for the smallest things like applying nail polish or wearing sunglasses. They will take you to custody and beat you. Iran has very harsh rules for women,” said Sehar who was born in Iran and lived in the country for 25 years before she moved to Bengaluru, and got married four years back.
Narrating about her Iran days, she further said, “I wasn’t allowed to stay in a hotel in Iran with my husband because, according to them, I did not marry as per Iranian law. I wanted to extend my daughter’s visa but the authorities denied saying I am not an Iranian as I am married to an Indian national. All my life I have complied with the strict laws of Iran. There is no freedom for women.”
Another Iranian woman, Nafisa (name changed), living in India asserted that Iran has always been against women’s rights. “Even the women who are protesting now are not safe. They are beaten and shot dead. You don’t know the real numbers. There are police and army on streets beating women and arresting them,” said the Mumbai resident who has her family living in Tehran.
Both Nafisa and Sehar are doing their bit on social media to participate in the protest and support the women in Iran. “I am trying to encourage more women and speak the truth. I may have to face repercussions later but this is the time I want to stand with all the women in Iran because I know the reality,” said Sehar.