Last year, a picture of a girl hurling stones at the security forces caught the attention of national media. The 23-year-old college student with her face covered with a dupatta became a symbolic representation of the frustrated youth in Kashmir. While many criticised Afshan Ashiq for leading other girls in throwing stones at the forces, there are people who thought she was the new face of resistance.
Eight months have passed since the incident happened and the girl says her life has changed forever after her pictures went viral on social media and television channels. “My life has changed forever. I want to be an achiever and do something to make the state and the nation proud,” Afshan Ashiq said whose life story may soon be turned into a biopic.
The girl, a resident of Srinagar, is known for her passion for football. She is the captain and goalkeeper of the Jammu and Kashmir women’s football team and also plays for a Mumbai club.
Afshan along with her 22-member football team, coach Satpal Singh Kala and manager Tsering Angmo met Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday. She requested the home minister to start a Sports Authority of India (SIA) Institute in Kashmir to train young girls to play football.
“When we told the home minister that Jammu and Kashmir lacks sports infrastructure, he immediately called up the Chief Minister (Mehbooba Mufti) and requested her to do the needful to help us,” Afshan Ashiq said.
“The minister also told us that Rs 100 crore had already been sanctioned (under the Prime Minister’s special package) for the state,” the captain of the CM’s-XI team said.
Asked if she regretted the stone-pelting incident, Afshan said it was an outcome of the anger triggered by the abusive language used by a J&K cop.
“On that day (April 15) some of my team mates and I were on our way to meet officials of the state sports department to discuss about new equipment. But on the way, Jammu and Kashmir police personnel stopped us and started misbehaving. Some of the girls were even physically assaulted. Seeing that the team members took the matter into their own hands,” Afshan told HT.