'For My Sisters': Meet the 24-Yr-Old DU Grad Who Led Protests in Kabul

24-year-old Crystal Bayat is a Political Science graduate from Delhi University.

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A 24-year-old Political Science graduate from the Daulat Ram College of Delhi University is fast becoming the face of women's protests against the Taliban in the war-torn Afghanistan.

Crystal Bayat, who graduated from Delhi University in 2017 and later pursued a master’s degree from United Nations Institute in Delhi, is encouraging Afghan women to mobilise, encouraging them to demand their democratic rights.

Speaking to The New York Times, the writer and political activist said:

"I have been studying for the last 19 years and striving to achieve my goals. But today, unfortunately, all my dreams died. The last 20 years we have seen a lot of changes in our society and they are taking back all that from us."
Crystal Bayat to The New York Times

A native of Kabul, Bayat's parents are educated, with her mother being a doctor and her father reportedly working with the Afghanistan government.


How Bayat Mobilised Crowd for Protest?

Videos from at least two protests in Kabul, in which women participated, went viral in the last one week since the Taliban forcefully took over Afghanistan.

Speaking to the media, Bayat said she was using WhatsApp to mobilise and encourage women. However, despite her best efforts, only seven women turned up for the protest, with over 1,000 men showing up.

“When we first decided to protest in Kabul, it took a lot of courage to stand in front of armed Taliban men, but we had to do it for our sisters,” Bayat told India Today.

While the first one took place on 17 August, with four women protesting on the streets of Kabul, the second saw seven women staging a protest on 18 August at the city’s Wazi Akbar Khan neighbourhood. In both these protests, Bayat said, the Afghan flag was used – as a symbol of resistance.

"Lots of women want to raise their voice. But they still fear and are not able to come out of their homes. A woman can be as brave as a man."
Crystal Bayat to The New York Times

On Coming Face-to-Face With the Taliban

Bayat said that she had come face-to-face with the Taliban for the first time in her life while she was protesting.

They reportedly told her to 'go back home' because she was a woman – but she instead decided to shout the slogan of 'Zindabad Afghanistan'.

"They told me that I am a woman. 'You are a lady; you have to stay at home'. So I told them that we have the right to come out and take part in all spheres of the society. They said 'you're in the wrong way'. So, I didn't bow to them and continued and we came on the streets with flags of Afghanistan."
Crystal Bayat to India Today

Bayat said that she will continue to raise her voice for the millions women of Afghanistan

"Till the time they shoot me, I will strive and seek my goals. I will not let them deprive me from fundamental rights," she added.

(With inputs from India Today and The New York Times)

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Topics:  Afghanistan Crisis 

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