The anti-Malala propaganda
A protest by students against the renaming of Saidu Sharif Degree College after the 15-year-old peace activist, Malala Yousafzai, was no surprise to me. The demonstration by female students shocked those who adore the iconic activist. However, the dissent was a result of a planned conspiracy against Malala.
Ever since Malala received the National Peace Award from the prime minister, a group which roots itself along religious lines swung into action and criticised the young girl for receiving unnecessary importance. On October 9, when she was shot by unidentified assailants, public opinion against Taliban brutalities reached a new high.
Malala had openly condemned the desecration of educational institutions, banning of female education and raised a voice against the Taliban – a far cry from the norm in Swat Valley where students remained tightlipped about Taliban activity and were subservient to their orders.
To understand their sentiments, I interviewed students who took part in the protest at the Saidu Sharif College. Most students claimed that an anti-Malala propaganda had begun to spread across the region. They claimed rumours were spread, that their college was receiving threats by militants, who wanted to attack the institution due to the renaming.
Under such circumstances, girls raised a hue and cry against the move by the college, and some students even pelted stones at posters of Malala. Ironically, neither the principal nor the college’s chief-proctor were present on the day of protest. Some journalists were informed prior to the incident.
This raises a plethora of questions. Why were the senior-most authorities absent from the college? Who informed the journalists? Who motivated the students to protest? And most importantly, are there some extremist elements working from within the college?
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