London/New Delhi: Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize winner and education rights activist Malala Yousafzai has attracted much criticism for her series of tweets on Kashmir, especially for one tweet in which she alleged a Kashmiri girl had complained she was unable to take her exam due to the lockdown on August 12 - forgetting that it was a national holiday in India due to Eid Al Adha.
In a series of tweets, Malala took up the cause of Kashmiri girls with the hashtag #LetKashmirSpeak, and appealed to the UN to work towards peace in Kashmir. Her tweets went: "I wanted to hear directly from girls living in Kashmir right now. It took a lot of work from a lot of people to get their stories because of the communications blackout. Kashmiris are cut off from the world and unable to make their voices heard. #LetKashmirSpeak
"Here is what three girls told me, in their own words: "The best way to describe the situation in Kashmir right now is absolute silence. We have no way of finding out what's happening to us. All we could hear is the steps of troops outside our windows. It was really scary. "I feel purposeless and depressed because I can't go to school. I missed my exams on August 12 and I feel my future is insecure now. I want to be a writer and grow to be an independent, successful Kashmiri woman. But it seems to be getting more difficult as this continues.
"People speaking out for us adds to our hope. I am longing for the day when Kashmir will be free of the misery we've been going through for decades. "I am deeply concerned about reports of 4,000 people, including children, arbitrarily arrested & jailed, about students who haven't been able to attend school for more than 40 days, about girls who are afraid to leave their homes.
"I am asking leaders, at #UNGA and beyond, to work towards peace in Kashmir, listen to Kashmiri voices and help children go safely back to school," she posted. Some on Twitter asked her to "Kindly spend a few minutes to speak for minority minor girls in #Sindh who are being converted & persecuted daily, otherwise it would expose your hypocrisy". But her tweet on a girl complaining about missing her exams on August 12 drew sharp reactions on Twitter.
An IAS officer @Kunalone tweeted: "Contradictory statement, if there is communication blockade then how she is able to speak. She can filter twitter to get authentic info rather than parroting written script. Her native country needs her attention where children are hungry because of price rise. Collect donations." Kashmiri IAS officer Shahid Choudhary, District Magistrate and Development Commissioner, Srinagar, tweeted in reply: "The girl she spoke to was writing exams on Eid day. Kuch bhi ho sakta hai."
Another tweeple posted: "Dear @Malala. Please tell @OfficialDGISPR to do proper homework before sending you notes next time. August 12 was a HOLIDAY (Eid ul Adha), no exam was held anywhere in India on that day."
Another twitterati posted: "As per Malala Muslims missed their exam on August 12 in Kashmir due to lock down. August 12th was an Eid Holiday for Muslims, so how could Muslims be in school and missing exams because of the government?" BJP MP from Karnataka Shobha Karandlaje in a tweet told the young Pakistani activist to instead raise concern for minorities in her country where they are subjected to "forceful conversion and persecution".
Karandlaje said that India is pursuing development projects in Jammu and Kashmir and the voices of the people there are being heard.