Presently, the situation in Kashmir, according to international organiasations & global media has not changed yet very much. It is still alarming and sparking flames in South Asia, that more then seven hundred thousand Indian army deployed in a small 40 -80 square miles area is the heaviest concentration in human history, and its all without any moral, political and legal code. 92 thousand Kashmiris have been killed by the Indian army in 17 years.
Since January 1989 to April 30, 2007:
Total killing. 91,865
Custodial Killing 6,899
Women gang raped
& Molested 9,708
Civilian arrested 113,798
Structures arsoned /
Children orphaned 106,930
Women widowed 22,530
The International NGO's Amnesty International, Human rights watch, Asia watch, Red Cross, Medicine sans frontier and others are not allowed to visit Kashmir. Torture is widespread, particularly in the temporary detention centres; methods of torture include electric shock, prolonged beatings and sexual molestation of innocent women.
Kashmir is a disputed territory. Presently, the ceasefire line between the forces of India and Pakistan has divided Kashmir into two parts. One part is under Indian occupation: this comprises 63% of the whole territory and includes the Vale; it has a population 7.5 million. The other part, with approximately 3 million people, includes Azad Kashmir and the Northern region of Gilgit and Baltistan and is administered by Pakistan. About 1.5 million Kashmiris are refugees in Pakistan, some 400,000 live in Britain, and about 250,000 are scattered around the world. The present arbitrary bifurcation of Kashmir has resulted in the division of thousands of Kashmiri families.
Kashmiris living there have no life safety and human honour. Women are degraded and humiliated, almost 10 thousands women are raped; not only adult women but even eight year old girls are victimised.
Since the Indian government crackdown against Kashmiris in the disputed territory of Kashmir began in earnest in January 1990, security forces and Indian army have used rape as a weapon: to punish, intimidate, coerce, humiliate and degrade. Rape by Indian security forces most often occurs during crackdowns, cordon-and-search operations during which men are held for identification in parks or schoolyards while security forces search their homes. In these situations, the security forces frequently engage in collective punishment against the civilian population by assaulting residents and burning their homes. Rape is used as a means of targeting women to punish and humiliate the entire community. Rape has also occurred frequently during reprisal attacks on civilians. In many of these attacks, the selection of victims is seemingly arbitrary and the women, like other civilians assaulted or killed, are targeted simply because they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Women who are the victims of rape are often stigmatised, and their testimony and integrity impugned. Social attitudes which cast the woman, and not her attacker, as the guilty party pervade the judiciary, making rape cases difficult to prosecute and leaving women unwilling to press charges.
Government authorities have failed to bring the culprits on record. The normal trend of the Government during these years is to hide the atrocities committed by the Indian armed and paramilitary forces in order to dodge the Amnesty International and the world Human Rights Organization.
Various NGOs and human rights organisations are working for feminism and other civil & social rights, but in my opinion no satisfied work regarding Kashmiri women's safety and modesty. Women and Children are the victim of the worst human rights violations in this area of armed conflicts and ethnic war. It is crystal clear that sexual violence, which was used to subjugate and destroy a people as a form of ethnic cleansing, was an abhorrent and heinous war crime. These persistent and gross abuses, flagrant denials of the human rights of women and their right to life itself, demanded an urgent response from international human rights bodies.
According to data maintained by a media portal of United Kingdom (UK) on reported cases of rape and molestation in which security forces were allegedly involved, nearly 500 women were raped in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir between1990-1994. Media portal maintains that it has compiled the reports from what was reported by state media. The portal maintains that non-governmental organisations (NGO) hardly took interest in documenting the plight of these silent sufferers of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to a 1994 United Nations publication from 1990 to 1996, 882 women were reportedly gang-raped by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. But Social Stigma associated with word "Rape" has made work of human rights and women NGOs cumbersome. They say that women are reluctant to come forward. Extra Judicial killings, rapes, custodial killings, kidnappings, burning of houses by Indian security forces within IHK remain a common practice. The whole IHK has risen against the Indian Army and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act AFSPA and POTA that enables the Indian Army to arrest and kill anyone, anytime, anywhere, in a bid to suppress the ongoing Kashmir liberation movement, the Indian authorities have laid a network of torture cells to practice human rights violations. In these torture cells, the worst repressive means such as electric shocks, ironing of sensitive parts of body, are practised against the innocent Kashmiris without caring for the age and health conditions. Besides, the female folk are also taken to these centres where they are reportedly gang-raped for protesting against the Indian brutalities or filing complaints against terrorising of their near and dear ones.
This poverty struck women have nothing to feed their children. Their husbands went missing and they could not even wail over their missing husbands.1000 widows, whose husbands have disappeared but not been proven dead. Their children were killed in front of their eyes and yet they are doing rounds of the government offices to prove that their children were killed in cold blood. The dreaded attack by soldiers and an assault on their honour and body remains in the minds of every woman in Kashmir. The young widows and teenaged orphan girls are facing more problems due to their youth as they are always at danger of getting molested or raped. It is matter of concern that most of the married women face the problem of miscarriages, which is one of the fastest growing problem in the rural and border areas of Kashmir.
These happenings are not confined to Muslims. In the last 16 years the women of Kashmir have had to bear male vengeance in silence and they have been unable to find spare to transcend that. Estimates given by various organisations place widowS between 30 000 to 40 000 and Orphans between 50 000 to 80 000.the raped women are doubly victimised and have to live the rest of their carrying to stamp of stigma in silence."
The peace process began three years ago between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, and there has been dozens of talks for 60 years, three wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, thousands of innocent peoples from both sides have been killed. But the end is no where in sight. The United Nations had 6 resolutions passed time to time but justice, and implementation of these resolutions have been delayed.
It is imperative that the United Nations, European Union and Organisation of Islamic Conference and other powers to start the negotiation and mediation with Kashmiri leadership and influential organisations from both sides of Kashmir. Because both countries Pakistan and India have got nuclear capacity because of Kashmir. Political pundits predict cloud of nuclear war is seeing on sky of South Asia clearly. In these difficult circumstances, this dress code edict is simply misplaced, if not a deliberately planted red herring. More pain for the Kashmiri women, thousands of whom have already lost their husbands, sons and loved ones to the bullets and atrocities of the marauding Indian soldiers and many of whom have also fallen victim to sexual defilement.
The European parliament has adopted MEP Emma Nicholson report titled "Kashmir; Present situation and future prospects" on May 25, 2007, by an overwhelming 522 votes in favour to 19 votes against. The report recognised Kashmiris right to self-determination, deploring massive human rights abuses in Jammu & Kashmir, encouraging the Peace process between India and Pakistan and emphasising inclusion of Kashmiris in the Peace process. The Amnesty International released a latest Global report 2007 said in that there is many violence, torture, custodial deaths enforced disappearances and extra-judicial executions continued in Jammu & Kashmir in the year 2006.
Rape in war is not merely a matter of chance nor is it a question of sex. It is rather a question of power and control which is `structured by male soldiers' notions of their masculine privilege. Kashmir is rising flame, which is increasing speedily. If United Nations, European Union and other world wide NGO's do not succeeded in finding an acceptable solution with the participation of kashmiris, it will cause disaster for this part of South Asia. World powers and Global Institutions need to understand this burning issue.
The people of Kashmir demand an end to the military occupation of their land. Because they demand what they have been pledged by both India and Pakistan and guaranteed by the United Nations Security Council with the unequivocal endorsement of the United States, demilitrisation of Kashmir and a free plebiscite vote organised impartially.
Every Kashmiri is waiting anxiously for somebody to help attain freedom for them. I am a women so I understand feelings and emotions, inner voice of every Kashmiri woman.
Farhat Jabeen is Student of PhD
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