Aasia Jeelani

Aasia began her career at AFP Kashmir Bureau as a trainee in 1999 and continued there up to 2001. She then joined one of the leading newspapers of India – Times of India – in Delhi as an intern but left her internship half way through.
“I decided not to work in Delhi but in Kashmir for my people. To let people know what is truly taking place in Kashmir,” Aasiya once said during her visit to Netherlands.  Back to valley, Aasia joined Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society with a resolve to empower Kashmiri women economically. At JKCCS she was deeply touched by the pain and sufferings of conflict victims and realized there is a need to work for them.
Aasia soothed many traumatized families in her own way. She documented human rights violations carried out in areas which are virtually inaccessible. Besides, she also tried to develop a work culture among Kashmiri women and started a tailoring center called ‘Self Help Group’. After her death, it became ‘Aasia Memorial foundation’.  Aasiya’s biggest contribution is Voices Unheard, the first ever magazine on women plight in conflict ridden Kashmir. She heard the unheard voices of those whom the conflict had virtually consumed and who lived on the fringes of society. Through Voices Unheard, Kashmiri women caught the attention of whole world and helped Aasia to win the title ‘Heroine of Kashmir’ by Aga Shahid Foundation.
Aasia would be a fresh lease of hope for those who disappeared in realms of darkness but destiny had something else in store for her. She breathed her last at Lolab on 24th April 2004 when a landmine rippled apart the vehicle in which she and her colleagues were travelling while monitoring parliamentary elections in Kupwara.

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