KOZHIKODE: District child protection officer C.K. Sheeba Mumthaz is hurt over an instance of gender discrimination that she has faced. She was allegedly asked to stay away from a meeting attended by religious scholars because she is a woman. Ms Sheeba, who is also in charge of the district social justice office, told DC that the Sunni Management Association, one of the outfits of Samastha (Kanthapuram faction), had invited her to attend a sensitisation programme for registration of childcare institutions in Kozhikode. But, later she was asked to abstain since many religious scholars were attending.
“One of the organisers called me over phone and requested me to take classes on Juvenile Justice Act and registration of the child care institutions. I told him that I will try to attend or in case of any other assignments, another official would be sent. However, the same person contacted me on Thursday morning and said that since religious scholars were attending, it is better that I send a male officer. When I asked him what is the problem if I attend, he said he will check again and revert. He did not call again and instead contacted my office and said, I need not attend,” Ms Sheeba said.
Childline district coordinator M.P. Muhammedali, who took class at the event held at KP Kesava Menon Hall, said that he went there hoping that officers like Ms Sheeba were attending. “The DCPO and officers of her rank are knowledgeable on the registration guidelines and they would be able to guide us better. I expressed my protest to the organisers over not inviting them,” said Mr Muhammedali. However, association state secretary Yacoub Faizy, the organiser who called Ms Sheeba, dismissed the allegations and said, “I told her while inviting her that others, including Childline officials, are also taking classes. Then she asked me if it was necessary for her to attend. I never asked her not to attend. This is due to misunderstanding. Even when all the other orphanages are backing out from registration, we are the only religious group that calls for it,” added Mr Faizy.