Activists say women worst-hit victims of Kashmir situation

Participants in ‘batein aman ki’ campaign find many women living in fear

SAQIB MALIK
Srinagar, Publish Date: Sep 23 2018 11:34PM | Updated Date: Sep 23 2018 11:34PM
Activists say women worst-hit victims of Kashmir situationActivists say women worst-hit victims of Kashmir situation

Women were among the worst-hit victims of day-to-day " situation in Kashmir, directly or indirectly affecting education, their domestic life and work, women’s rights activists from various states said during a seminar here on Sunday.

The seminar, “Growing Violence In the Society And Its Impact on Women” was organised by the NGO Anhad in collaboration with Kashmir Womem’s Collective, Help Foundation and Elfa International at the Institute of Hotel Management.

The participating activists, who are in Kashmir on a peace campaign “batein aman ki”, said women affected by violence and marginalised women in the valley need to be “brought into the mainstream”.

Manjusha Nayan , a Delhi-based lawyer and a women’s rights activist said women which her group interacted with during their present visited complained of suffering due to the prevailing situation.

Kashmir despite having suffered wide-scale violence is a “unique place where mission for peace” and women’s rights activities can be kick-started, Nayan said.

“Our group today visited Tanghdar and far flung areas to meet and understand people. The environment here is that of a deep-rooted conflict,” Nayan said, adding women have the responsibility to carry further message of peace.

“Women are worst hit and deprived of basic rights irrespective of where they are from. Many women in northern Kashmir told us that they are living in fear and even their education is badly hit by the prevailing situation.”

Nayan said their focus in Kashmir was to convey a “message of peace and love among people”.

“A woman provides a support system so that men and children can carry on with their lives but we don’t carry out a monetary valuation of this contribution. This contribution not less than 50 percent but there is a huge disparity against women,” she said.

“In policy making about women there is no representation, and if at all it is symbolic.”

Kanwaljit Kaur Dhilon, member of National Executive Council, National Federation of Indian Women said discrimination against women needs to be overcome at any cost, and highlighted women visiting police stations to register cases of violence and “facing utmost discrimination” was an example of suppression of women.

“Women feticide in Punjab and J&K and even entire north India is quite high which needs to be kept under check. We need to change the mindsets. Let us not hang our heads, and stand against violence on women,” Dhillon said.

Dr Nisha Agarwal, an economist and former CEO Oxfam India said the situation of women in Kashmir was disturbing and the trauma they are going through was compounded by happenings across the Valley and rest of the state.

“We are here to learn about Kashmir as there are lots of misperceptions about the Valley created by media mostly. We met civil society members in Kashmir during our tour and we see so much of hatred about national media. We feel they are not portraying hatred and must play a positive role,” Agarwal said.

Dr Mubeena Ramzan who runs women rights organisations  said she traveled extensively across the valley for women’s rights and ensure that women suffering from domestic violence are provided “a vent”.

“There are also many problems and sufferings among women due to militarisation which has a negative impact on women. Our group is mostly focusing on women suffering from domestic violence,” Ramzan said.

Mantasha Binti Rashid of Kashmir Women’s Collective also spoke at the event, saying women-led initiatives were the need of the hour for ending all sorts of violence being faced by them here.

“Let women drive the momentum and the initiatives to end violence whether it is due to the ongoing situation and politics or domestic violence,” Rashid said.

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