Kashmir

The Land of Widows and Orphans

Monday 5 March 2007, by Pradeep Mohinder

Rape of women, disappearance, illegal detain,threatening at gun point, molestation, loot and terrorising raids by security forces and by unknown gunmen have been a day to day phenomena in Kashmir valley and in border districts of Jammu.

Seventeen years of turmoil has not ruined the Jammu Kashmir economically but, has turned the valley in to the land of widows and orphans. It is matter of fact that that in state there are more than twenty-five thousand orphans (25,000) and approximately six thousand 6000 widows in state but Central and State government are un aware of this amazing and horrifying fact and they only have data of arms and ammunition recovered or militants gun down by security forces during search operations.

The most affect and neglected are border districts, like Kupwara, Anantnag, Pulwama and Baramulla in valley and Rajouri, Poonch and Udhampur in Jammu region.

These women due to militancy, has not lost only their husbands but also source of livelihood with them.These poverty struck women have nothing to feed their children and number of other insecuries hunt them in their absence of their husband. The people of state are not only harassed and raped by unknown gun man but even India army is doing the same.

In 1991 Indian army raped 30 women in Kunan- Poshpura in Kupwara ageing between 18 years to 85 year, but till the date these women has got no compensation nor justice from the government. Even young girls who were yet to be married are still awaiting that some day some one will came to
marry them and they are living in cow sheds and waiting for justice.

If one will visit the Deevar, Sogam, Dardpora and other villages of border district Kupwara will find hundred of widows and thousand of orphans at the mercy of god. One of the widows from village Dardpora named Shakeela said “I have three children. My husband was taken for interrogation in 1994 and after few days his body was found in jungle. He
was killed with bullets pumped in his body. After his death I have no other option rather then to beg or to go for illicit activities.

It is matter of concern that the women are living under the fair of psychos due to which they mentally ill or 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 state yet to be notice by the health department of state.

The young widows and teenaged orphan girls are facing more problems due to their youthness as they are always at danger of molestation and getting raped.

One of the widow Reehana age 22 from Deever said “being young I am always being harassed and molested both by security forces and renegade and that has become the day to day routine. Even though I am little educated still I cannot go out to work because of all this”.

Even the NGOs, which are trying to help them, are not able tro perform well because of government hurdles. Ghulam Nabi tailor at J&K Yateem Trust Craft Centre, at village Deevar said, “Even though those girls who get free tranning of both cutting and tailoring or needling are not able to
earn their livelihood as the village has limited resources and government has done nothing to facilitate their skill other wise this was easier way to provide job.

Safe means of livelihood for these widows and orphans is very important other wise, when they young boys and girls will grow in such deprived condition they will definitely go for gun culture and prey for pimps.

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