Afshan Ashiq of Srinagar has metamorphosed from being the poster girl of stone-pelting to being the captain and trainer of hundreds of girls in Kashmir who are interested in playing football.
The tall girl, who was captured on lens throwing stones on the security forces when the latter tried to physically assault the protesters, during this year’s students’ unrest in the summers, in which girl students took the lead in and around the protest centre of Women’s College of Srinagar, was seen interacting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh along with other girls of her football team on Tuesday.
She not only briefed Singh about the poor sports infrastructure in the Kashmir Valley but also asked Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to improve the same, in particular the sports facilities available for the girls in Srinagar and the rest of Kashmir.
Afshan Ashiq is now being projected as somebody who could de-radicalise the youth. Afshan told the media that sports can serve as the best medium to de-radicalise the youth. Afshan was in New Delhi as the captain of Chief Minister’s team. She is also the goalkeeper of the team. She has now gone to Mumbai to watch the Indian Super League football match. However, she said that the police and the security forces need to behave with the protesting girls, while proclaiming that she has no regrets for throwing stones on men-in-uniform, who had misbehaved with her and her colleagues near Women’s College in Srinagar during the summer agitation.
Afshan talked in detail to Singh about the impediments to women’s sports sector in the Kashmir Valley. She was all praise for Rajnath Singh who issued on-the-spot instructions for better infrastructure and facilities for girls interested in football.
According to the J&K Sports Council officials, soon after Afshan Ashiq’s photograph and video clips became viral, she was called by Mehbooba Mufti who told her that she would get all the support from the government.