Sopore: In the last about two-and-a-half decades, women in Kashmir have suffered physical and mental trauma. And same is true about the women at Sopore: several women in this north Kashmir town lost their family members and have been living a tormented life ever since.
Tasleema Jaan lost her husband, Sheikh Altaf Rahman, in 2015. According to her, Altaf was a “pro-freedom” man whom the government agencies took into custody many times and interrogated.
The torture left him crippled, and he couldn’t walk without using a stick, she said.
“As a pharmacist in the Sopore Hospital, he always helped those in need. He left behind two daughters and a son, who are now the sole reason for me to live,” she told Kashmir Reader.
“My life has been torn apart. When his body arrived, I thought I have lost all the reasons to live. It was the most difficult part of my life.”
Her mother-in-law, who consoles Tasleema often, added: “She is crying because she lost her husband the last year, but I lost two of my beloved sons in this conflict. I have no tears because I live with their memories.”
Naseema Begum, a resident of old town Sopore, lost her son, Mudasir Ahmad, during the 2010 mass-agitation. The paramilitary CRPF men, Naseema recalled, killed Ahmad, a popular football player, when he was returning home from a nearby mosque.
“He was not a stone thrower. Why did they kill him? And do kids deserve to be killed even if they throw stones?” she asked. “I am living in depression, taking help from the medicines prescribed by the doctors.”
“When my son was martyred, everyone visited us. Now six years later, nobody comes to see me. People move on. Who has the time to care about the pain and sufferings of a mother who lost her young son? He was the star of my eyes, and his death has shattered my life. I am alive, but I am virtually dead. I died the day he left this world. All I want now is to see him in the after world.”
Twenty-two-year-old Afroza Nazir, who works in a private healthcare facility, has been the sole bread earner for her family since her brother was killed by the government forces on June 25, 2010, at Sopore.
“If my brother was alive today, I would be studying. I was compelled by the circumstances into leaving my studies and work for supporting my family of five. My father is physically challenged and my other brothers are too young to work.”
Afroza aimed to study in a college and live merrily as most young girls do.
“I don’t just have to work to make our ends meet, but I have been also fighting for the SRO case of my brother for the last six years. Our lives have become miserable because of this violence,” she lamented.
Tabasum Tariq Bhat has a same story to share. Her father, Tariq Ahmad Bhat of old Sopore, died due to his mental illness caused, according to the family, by the torture he suffered at the hands of the government forces.
“After his release from the prison, he was unable to recognise his family. He was scared of his own shadow,” Tabasum said.
“After the death of my father, my dream of pursuing higher studies was destroyed. I started tailoring people’s clothes at my home to earn for the family. I don’t know what life means now, because I have stopped thinking about it,” she concluded.