Srinagar: Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) on Tuesday said Kashmiri women have suffered “both by the military occupation and the patriarchal society” and have dominated the “struggle for justice in the cases of killings, disappearances and rapes”.
In a statement issued here, APDP said Kashmiri women have always been the first to “protest on streets, file cases in courts, campaign for justice and sustain the memory of the sufferings”.
“Last 26 years of military response against the freedom struggle in Jammu and Kashmir has increased the sufferings of the women. More than 70,000 people, mostly men have been killed, around 8,000 people subjected to enforced disappearances, thousands of women raped and molested. There are more than 1500 wives waiting for their disappeared husbands, who are referred to as Half Widows due to the legal uncertainty in their lives,” the statement said.
It said Kashmiri women have shown exemplary courage in fighting against the injustice “despite the institutionalised denial of justice”. “Today entire world is commemorating International Women’s Day. In Jammu and Kashmir, there are many government and non-governmental programs organized for commemorating this day. This day is basically about celebrating the struggle of women for justice and empowerment. Yet, most of these government-sponsored or patronized programmes refuse to talk about this struggle of women in J&K. In a de-contextualized manner these commemorations of women’s day only strengthen the policy of obfuscation by the government. There can be no empowerment of women in the state without acknowledging the sufferings and the struggle of those who are at the forefront of this struggle from the streets to the courtrooms,” the statement said.
“On this day, let us also pledge to work against patriarchy and hence reduce the vulnerability of our women and give no opportunity to the Indian state to use patriarchy as a tool of repression against Kashmiris. Let us pledge to stand by the women who have sacrificed for resistance and suffer at the hands of the society,” the statement read.