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VCK Leader Praises ISRO Scientist, Nigar Shaji Saying “She is a Muslim Woman”; Heckled in Parliament

– Radiance News Service

The latest Special Session of the Parliament has been in the news for a multitude of reasons – the occasion of shifting to the new Parliament building, the Women’s Reservation Bill, MP Ramesh Bhiduri’s Islamophobic comments, to name a few.

DMK leader Kanimozhi too was heckled even before she could begin speaking, to which she quickly replied in Tamil, saying that she didn’t understand what was being said anyway, thus deflating the entire ruckus.

Thol Thirumavalavan, VCK chief and MP from Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu also brought up Nigar Shaji, ISRO Scientist. In doing so, he did something unusual – he brought up her identity while praising her.

“ISRO has achieved a momentous mission by sending Aditya 1 close to the sun. The person in charge of this is Nigar Shaji. She is a Muslim woman. She hails from Tamil Nadu. These achievements are laudable.” As he mentioned her identity, he was heckled by members, saying “We are all Indian.”

Thol Thirumavalavan in Lok Sabha, a screengrab from LSTV

The obvious question that arises – does being a Muslim invalidate being an Indian? Can people, especially those from marginalised communities, not be recognised not just as individuals but also considering their backgrounds, and the fact that they may have overcome many hurdles to reach new heights? When the Parliament is comfortable recognising ‘women’ as an exclusive category in form of an official bill, why is merely bringing up ‘Muslim’ identity of a woman so discomfiting?

A debate ensued on Twitter too, with some people saying it was unnecessary to bring up her religion, while others defended MP Thirumavalavan and praised him for highlighting it openly, considering the noxious atmosphere at present that is clouded by Islamophobia and anti-Muslim remarks, as was evident in the case of MP Bidhuri.

Radiance News earlier covered other Muslim pioneers in ISRO’s missions here.

An X (formerly Twitter) conversation between those opposing the invocation of religion and those who think was a positive development

A full video of Thirumavalavan’s remarks: https://youtu.be/IKU19mbBM-A?feature=shared

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