Srinagar: Mumbai based news portal Firstpost on Tuesday suspended Kashmir based freelance contributor Sameer Yasir after allegations of “sexual harassment” surfaced against him.
The website published a news story alongwith an editor’s note reading: “Sameer Yasir is a freelance contributor to Firstpost. He is not employed by the website. We have suspended using his services until such time that an inquiry into the allegations is complete.”
The suspension comes a day after a Kashmir based women’s group “Kashmir Women’s Collective” collated a list of cases ranging “from frivolous chats with absolute disregard to the girl’s discomfort, silence or disinterest, to attempts at physical assaults and forceful inappropriate touching”.
“Sameer Yasir, who is a lecturer at IUST, the list said that Yasir tried to molest a woman in a gathering. She recounted that it was during the time when Yasir was a teacher at her university, and they were in part of a gathering of about 20 people. They started playing a game of truth or dare and he started asking personal questions, she said while adding that he went to the extent of “accusing her of boarding a car every day with some guy,” the KWC said in a Facebook post.
The KWC said that the information is being made public so that other women and girls are made aware that any man – no matter if he is an intellectual, elder, known, relative, friend, teacher – can be an abuser. The aim is also to publicly shame the abusers and “pressurise them and others into behaving more responsibly”.
The collective further goes on to say that Kashmir’s #MeToo is different because:
“this can be seen as a mass attack on Kashmiri community by some right-wing Indians which we do not support. No Islamophobia or Kashmir put down, please.”
-“It can be seen as an attempt to take away attention from the political movement.” The collective said that that is not the purpose at all. “In fact, we are wary that this will be seen from the context of the political affiliation of abusers and molesters. We are not concerned about an abuser’s political inclination, family name or beliefs. Abusers come from all spheres of life, even the ones apparently fighting for justice and equality.”
Fahad Shah, a journalist, is also part of the list. According to the list, he has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women.
“Editor’s note: Fahad Shah has contributed to Firstpost in the past. He is not employed by the website. We have suspended using his services until such time that an inquiry into the allegations is complete.”
Fahad runs his own news website the Kashmir Walla based in Kashmir. He also contributes to a number of other publications.