For the first time, a woman was nominated in 2018 for panel’s four-year tenure
It is once again an all-male affair at the Kerala State Haj Committee as no woman has found a place on the recently reconstituted committee. The government order appointing a 16-member, all-male committee was issued on August 11.
Though women constitute more than half the number of Haj pilgrims from the State, it was only in 2018 that a woman was first nominated as a member of the committee. Indian National League leader and Kanhangad municipality vice chairperson L. Sulaikha had made it to the 2018-2021 committee.
She was followed by a S. Sajitha, a councillor of Valanchery municipality, who had a seven-month-long stint as a panel member. The two women made it to the committee under the quota for civic representatives.
“The Kerala government took the initiative of nominating a woman to the panel as it wanted women to move up in society even without the benefits of women’s quota,” said K.T. Jaleel, who handled the portfolio of Wakf and Haj Pilgrimage in the previous Left Democratic Front government. It was a major step towards women’s representation, he said, adding that the reasons for the non-inclusion of women in the present committee remained unknown.
The women pilgrims, said Ms. Sulaikha, feel more at home interacting with women officials. They bank on women officials for their various needs as male committee members are largely disconnected with the facilities arranged for women, she said.
“My tenure on the panel was smooth as all the panel members fully cooperated with me. They also encouraged me to get involved in all the activities of the panel,” said Ms. Sulaikha, who is currently as the district treasurer of the party.
Responding to the developments, V. Abdurahiman, Minister for Wakf and Haj Pilgrimage, said he was unaware of the non-inclusion of women on the committee.
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