Stories written by Mehru Jaffer
Mehru Jaffer is an Indian journalist based in Vienna, Austria. She is the author of ‘The Book of Muhammad’, published by Penguin. She writes on gender issues and the role of religion and Islam in contemporary society.

Rahul Gandhi’s Long Walk Hailed, But Only Polls Will Determine Its Success

When countless supporters of the Indian National Congress, the main opposition party, arrive in Srinagar on January 30 to hoist the Indian flag, they would have walked 3,570 kilometres over 150 days.

With Activists, Journalists Jailed for ‘Spurious Reasons’, Commentators Say India’s Chief Justice Faces Challenges

India’s new Chief Justice, Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, has a significant challenge ahead – as activists and minorities remain hopeful that he will remain true to his legacy of delivering judgments that enshrined the Constitution, especially on personal liberty.

Rushdie Joins 102 International Writers to Demand Freedom of Expression in India

On the eve of India’s 76th Independence Day, the president of the country, Droupadi Murmu, received a letter signed by 102 international writers, including authors from India and the Indian diaspora expressing “grave concerns about the rapidly worsening situation for human rights” and calling for the release of imprisoned writers and “dissident and critical voices”.

Gender Sensitization, Not ‘Romeo’ Policing Needed, say Activists

Romeo is a bad word in Uttar Pradesh (UP), India's largest province with nearly 25 million people. While the name symbolises love, various shows of affection and love between women and men can be seen as a criminal offence in UP. For their safety, women are advised not to be seen cosying up with their lovers, especially in public places – because the state police department’s anti-Romeo squads could arrest them.

Will Apex Court Ruling Remove Stigma for Sex Workers in India?

Social activists, including Lucknow-based Tahira Hasan, have welcomed the Indian Supreme Court’s recent ruling recognising sex work as a profession.

Youth Icon’s Fight for Rights Among India’s Destitute

Pooja Shukla, 25, a socialist candidate, has lost her maiden elections to the provincial parliament in Uttar Pradesh (UP), India. But Shukla is no loser.

Women’s Voices Raised Against Hate in India

More and more women from different walks of life and corners of the world are raising their voices against the treatment of minorities in India today.

Boys Sold by Trusted Villager Turned Human Trafficker

Friends Ajay and Durgesh were lured from the same village in the remote and poverty-stricken countryside of eastern Uttar Pradesh (UP) in January 2021.

Once Tossed and Abused, Human Trafficking Survivor Finds Solace

For over two decades, Nina tossed around like a leaf in a storm. While a teenager, she was lured into the sex trade, and pimps kept a huge chunk of the money that she earned as a sex slave. Nina was often bruised. Once, she refused sex with a man who did not want to use a condom. He beat her so severely that she had found it difficult to breathe.

Extraordinary Lives of Indian Muslim Women Documented

It’s time the achievements of Indian Muslim women were documented to make their contribution to society visible, says international health and gender expert Dr Farah Usmani.

PAKISTAN: Women Shield Children From Extremism

When Farah’s 16-year-old son began to disappear for several nights a week without saying where he went, she was naturally worried. After he returned one day and shattered the television screen in their Peshawar home, the mother of three decided it was time to quit her job as a teacher and to find out what was making her youngest child so angry.

YEMEN: Youth Ready to Confront Gender Roles

Despite being at the forefront of sweeping changes taking place in the country, the lives of the majority of Yemeni women are restricted to early marriage, motherhood and serving husbands, according to a new study by Women Without Borders (WWB), a Vienna based public relations and advocacy platform for women’s voices around the world.

Q&A: ‘Women Are Shackled During Childbirth’

Female Palestinian prisoners detained in Israel are often denied legal representation and medical care while being housed in squalid conditions that can include sharing cells with rodents.

Lack of Funds Hampers Global Fight Against AIDS

The global conference on AIDS in Vienna last week will be remembered for "Broken Promises Kill", a slogan echoed by a coalition of activists who had gathered from around the world.

Worse Than HIV, the Stigma

Kiren Kaur, 37, has come to terms with HIV she contracted from her husband in 1997. The HIV positive status, per se, is not difficult to deal with. But dealing with the stigma that comes with it is an excruciating experience.

Women Vital in Global Fight Against AIDS

Empowering women could more effectively help in curbing the spread of HIV, Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and philanthropist said at the AIDS conference here Monday.

More Information to be Shared on AIDS Vaccine

Scientists participating in the 18th International AIDS conference that opens in Vienna Sunday promise to share more information on vaccine research.

DEATH PENALTY: World Moving Towards Abolition

Anti-death penalty activists meeting in the Austrian capital to discuss the eighth quinquennial report of the United Nations Secretary-General have hailed a worldwide trend towards total and universal abolition of capital punishment.

DEVELOPMENT-EU: Saving Agriculture From Climate Change

Climate change will top the agenda of an international food conference on Europe that begins Thursday in Innsbruck, Austria.

IRAQ: IAEA to Send Inspectors to Nuclear Plant

The IAEA is sending a team of seven inspectors to Iraq this week to investigate reports of illnesses around the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Centre south of Baghdad.

RIGHTS: UN Takes a Closer Look at Trafficking

”For three months I was in tears, receiving 50 clients a day. I lost sense of time. I tried to commit the room next door a girl did commit suicide. In the morning her body was taken away and another girl put in the same room, to do the same job!”

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