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Mehbooba Mufti is a female CM of Jammu & Kashmir: Women are certainly not in a priority under her government

By Syed Mujtaba*
Kashmir is one of the most long standing and unresolved issues and has faced worst human rights violations and crimes against humanity. Kashmiri people are suffering from torture, extrajudicial killings, mass murders, rape, torture, and abuse, exposition of unmarked graves, detentions and enforced disappearance.
The tales of barbarism in Kashmir has never been highlighted by Indian and international media the way other ordinary issues have been propagated in name of human rights and injustice. UN has miserably failed in resolving this issue. The fact is that in any conflict the first and worst victims are women and children, and same is the case in Kashmir.
Women primarily have been the most terribly injured party, in this decade’s long conflict. Anywhere in the world, women suffer the most in any sort of conflict. Either she is war booty in the hands of belligerents, or she is a widow back at home. She suffers as a daughter, mother, wife and sister, because most of the times she has to survive alone, with the loss of any support from her male counterpart.
Women in Kashmir are suffering from a number of physical and psychological problems because of the stressful environment. In the war-trodden region, Kashmiri women are now experiencing more stress as an aftermath of war and infertility. According to a report many women are becoming infertile because of conflicting environment and stressful conditions.
The tales of agony of Kashmiri women do not end here. The unending conflict in Kashmir besides leaving behind widows have also left number of ‘half-widows’. The missing persons in Kashmir have left over thousands of half-widows whose husbands are missing or are in enforced disappearance.
The valley is full of the plight of such women who have been left at the mercy of no one. Wives, mothers and sisters of those men who are in custody of Indian forces for years or missing go for regular sit-ins and protests.
According to a report by Human Rights Watch, many times Indian forces have killed civilians under the authority of laws such as the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, which allow lethal force to be used “against any person who is acting in contravention of any law or order for the time being in force in the disturbed area.”
The Indian army has admitted that the extraordinary powers to shoot have led to “mistakes”, so these ‘mistakes’ which kill innocent civilians create a rage among the public in Jammu and Kashmir. There are countless tales of rapes in Indian held Kashmir.
Late in 2012, a very prominent Indian human rights activist Arundhati Roy said in a media interview in Delhi that Indian army and police are using rape as a weapon against the people in Kashmir. She also said that rape is legitimately used and Indian law gives the perpetrators full protection.
According to reports, over 7,000 cases of sexual abuses have been reported since 1990. Over 17,000, mostly women among them have committed suicide over the last twenty years. IN 2016 unrest most affected victims were women's and children.
Syed Mujtaba
State women’s commission chairperson Nayeema Mehjoor was asked how the women’s commission was handling the issue of the women who were killed or sustained injuries, and those like Insha Mushtaq who were blinded by pellets. She said, “I must tell you I have never seen such a level of violence against women.”
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*Research scholar and human rights defender. contact: jaan.aalam@gmail.com

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