Born in 1976, Akeela Naz works for the rights of landless peasants in Punjab. Coming from a family of farmers, she herself experienced the exploitations these landless peasants have to suffer at the hands of their landowners. In 2000, she joined Anjuman Muzareen Punjab (AMP), a movement by the tenants to demand ownership of the lands they have been cultivating for military for generations, facing strict resistance from both the police and army. She was not only the first woman to join the movement but also served as its general secretary. She used the platform of AMP to organize the “Thapa Force”, an army of women which used “thapas” (sticks used to wash clothes) to protect their lands and families against encroaching state institutions. She also formed her own organization Peasant Women Society in 2008 for the empowerment of women peasants through education and legal, inherited right to the ownership of lands they till. She has also worked for the rights of minorities and bonded labors and is the chairperson of Minority Rights Commission of Khanewal. In recognition of her services, she received the prestigious Meeto Memorial Award in 2010.

It is easy to criticize India for its violent policies in Kashmir. But, it is difficult yet urgent, necessary to criticize our own state as well for its violent policies. Along with observing Kashmir solidarity hours around the country, we should also organize solidarity marches for the tenants of Punjab and for figures like Akeela Naz.