Daughters Of Kashmir

 By | Umm-e-Tehniyat |

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ASIFA BANO – a little nomad Muslim girl went to bring back grazing horses one evening, and never returned. Her parents were unaware that their missing 8 year old is facing physical torture and rape by the hands of Hindu zealots. They found her after three days lying in the jungle. The death of this innocent soul is a huge question mark for India and for the world at large.

India is a country where four rapes are reported every hour, hence sexual assault is no longer a traumatic news for the people. India registered about 40,000 rape cases in 2016, up from 25,000 in 2012. Unfortunately the Indian minds have been rearranged by crimes against women, children and minorities to such an extent that such news of violence do not even make the headlines.

The Incident of Asifa became sensational enough for the Indian media to report when activists and locals all around India, Pakistan and Kashmir too to the roads in protest against this crime. The irony of the situation is that this well-organized heinous crime is supported by a group of heartless, inhuman adherents of extremist religious Ideology who created ‘Hindu Ekta Manch’ in support of the accused men.

Hindu Ekta Manch is the brainchild of a group of staunch Hindus including three BJP leaders and two former Congressmen who had so much hatred for Muslims that they did not even consider raping a minor who was a muslim as crime and had the audacity to utter words in support of this act. Mr.Narendra Modi, the PM of India; the so called exemplary leader, finally decided to break silence on this issue after almost three months of this deadly crime on 14 Apr 2018: “I want to assure the nation that no criminal will be spared. Justice will be done. Our daughters will get justice”.

Mr Modi’s statement gives rise to a fundamental question that if you actually promise to give justice to daughters then what about thousands of daughters of Kashmir (a region which you declare an unbreakable part of India) who are being raped, beaten and killed by your own Armed Forces?

It has been an indispensable element of the Indian Military strategy to carry out sexual violence against women in conflict zones like Kashmir. Ironically those who vow to safeguard jaan(life), maal(property) and izzat(honor) of citizens have been the biggest violators of basic human rights. There are countless incidents of violence in Kashmir by the Indian security forces; some prominent cases include the recent events at Kathua, assault of a school girl by army men in Handwara(2016), rape and murder of two girls in Shopian(2009), similar rape and assault incidents occurred in Handwara(2004), Bihota (2001), Wavoosa (1997), Theno Budapathary Kangan (1994), Haran (1992), Chhanpora and Pazipora (1990) and so on. The events that occurred in Chak Saidpora in 1992 where Army unit of the 22nd Grenadiers gang-raped 6-9 women of ages 11 – 60 and the deadly event of Kunan, Poshpora in 1991 where Indian Army men gang-raped about 23 -100 women including minors, pregnant and disabled ranging from age 8 – 80. These are startling representations of the extent of hatred a group of people can have against the helpless minorities.

The dilemma is that the Kashmiri women did not get any justice despite being the victim of such deadly and heinous crimes. The sexual targeting of women by the security forces should be subjected to public accountability as it is a political action. These events have left a huge scar in the lives of the survivors. The symptoms of stress, trauma and depression are commonly found among the women of Kashmir which lead to an increase in the cases of spontaneous abortions, miscarriages and suicides.

As a famous saying by Aisha Mirza goes: “It’s not the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind”.

The irony and suffering of the Daughters of Kashmir for over two decades is actually a big question mark on the role of United Nations Organization (UNO), which is mandated to redress the oppressed people of the world.

The international community should open their eyes and ears to the pain, suffering and distress faced by Kashmiri Women. The eight UN resolutions on “Women, Peace and Security” are not a guarantee for the safety of Kashmiri women as three acts passed by Indian government namely Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, the Armed Forces (J&K) Special Powers Act, and the Public Safety Act give a loop hole for Indian Army to defend their inhuman crimes. The world needs to realize that there can be no lasting settlement among this disputed land until the human right abuses end. The rape of an eight year old in a temple is a call to awaken the international conscious. It is high time that international watch dogs wake up and not just speak, but act and implement policies to protect the innocent Kashmiris from violence at the hands of Narendra Modi’s Army.

The author is Masters in Business Administration from NUST Business School. She is a freelance writer based in Islamabad. Her writings mostly focus on social, political and defence. She can be reached at ummetehniyat@gmail.com

 

 

Bibliography

  1. Modi silent as rapes spark fury, protests in India. 13 Apr 2018. https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-04-13/modi-silent-rapes-spark-fury-protests-india. 20 Apr 2018.
  2. Rape during the Kashmir conflict. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_during_the_Kashmir_conflict. 20 Apr 2018.
  3. BHAT, TAJAMUL MAQBOOL. Conflict and Women: A Study of Kashmir Valley. 9 December 2017. http://southasiajournal.net/conflict-and-women-a-study-of-kashmir-valley/. 20 Apr 2018.

 

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