Violence against women in Kashmir

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This happens in all developing societies. The situation of inequality, competition, conflict and anomy has led to what is characterized as ‘domestic violence against women’.
Urbanisation has created a ‘dual role’ for women, one in the home and other in the office.  In this process of adopting new role and status, they exposed themselves to new problem of ‘domestic violence’. While at home, they face problems like competition, conflict, jealousy, discrimination, harassment, dowry-demand, post-marital discard and disharmony, mental and physical torture, dowry-deaths, psychological problems and so on. This violence against women is not only of intra-sex nature but of inter-sex too. It means that violence was committed against women not only by men only but by women too. In many cases, in fact men have proved as protectors.
On the other hand, militancy and militarization has unleashed a wave of violence against societal groups, classes and communities, especially their women. While the misuse/partial-use of gun by pro-government and pro-freedom militants led to series of violent acts against women, the state-sponsored gun in the hands of military and para-military forces led to all sorts of excesses against women, including abusing their chastity. The former kind of violence has no social, legal and political legitimacy, while the latter seems legitimized by draconian laws like Disturbed Areas Act and Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
It has now been established that violence against Kashmiri women, especially rape, has been used by Indian security forces as a weapon to impose collective punishment. [This argument has been well presented by a recently published book entitled “Militarization and Gender in Kashmir” written by Seema Qazi.]  Moreover, the fact stands with strong evidence that molestation and rape against women in Kashmir was started in an organized way by these forces. The rape incidents in Kunan Poshpora, Kupwara, Trehgam and at other places in the valley are telling examples.  The gruesome rape and subsequent murder of two women, Assiya and Neelofer, in Shopian represent the climax in this wave of violence against women.                
Thus both these sets of processes and factors created a situation of violence against women which seems very difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.  For women, it seems immaterial who the criminal is, an outsider or a local? They become victims of military-security and militant forces as well as of the local forces involved in societal gender aggression.  In reality, they have been repressed and suppressed by indigenous as well as exogenous elements. In this situational context, the is need to initiate seriously and collectively the processes of humanization [in the context of modernization]and complete negation of militancy and militarization.  Both these processes must start simultaneously, so women in Kashmir are saved from the rising tide of violence.

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About Author

A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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