By Samreena Zahoor Lone
In present day Kashmir, women particularly girls face the tyranny of the state, the killings and rape of this section of society is known to all, the hundreds of the cases such as Kunanposhpora or Shopian Rape case, victims are always this section of society. The role played by this section cannot be all together forgotten as they had given everything from their adoration to dignity Alas! What not they sacrificed. The use of excessive force in the state had made life of this section miserable. Who can forget the pellet gun, which the authorities have used to crush the decency in the state. This pump action shotgun has been the weapon of choice for security forces in Kashmir for years. It’s classified as “non-lethal”, used to mutilate rather than kill its victims, but the unfortunate story of this gun had killed youth ruthlessly and girls were injured and lost eye sight. There are hundreds of Iqra’s and Inshagirls who were blinded by pellets by these infamous weapons.
The overwhelming participation of the youth in Kashmir movement especially of girls is increasing day by day. The presence of girls in the social networking sites such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and twitter and so on has changed the old discourse when girls were restricted only to their housebound duties, now the fast faced life in the age of globalization has made this section more participative in the movement. Globalization, modernization, increase in female literacy rates, access to information and increased participation of women in the movement had reshaped the politics and society in Kashmir.The moment you use the social networking sites you will find how girls had become active participants, 2016 uprising should indeed clear our minds off all questions about contribution of youth. On grounds we could see the movement lead by the generation that grew up during militancy; generation which lost their childhood in the fear and sounds of guns and grenades.
I still remember and can hear bursts of tear gas shells and wild tones of firing by forces on civilians coming from the native marketplace and streets of towns and villages. People of Kashmir sacrificed everything for their noble cause, killing thousands; missing hundreds and blinded scores of the children is apt example of how people of this land were governed. The eyes of widowers, orphans, daily violated civilians, sexually assaulted, abused, tortured, blinded are still haunted me.
The ongoing conflict has created a disproportional negative effect for girls and women; this section is now in deep psychological trauma and is sometimes unable to carry out its responsibilities and the fact is they are now less available to their loved ones psychologically as well as physically.
The UN Plugom for Action(1995) describes how girls and women are especially affected by armed conflict because of their unequal status in society and their gender. Among the specific effects experienced by women of all ages are displacement, loss of home and property, loss or involuntary disappearance of close relatives, poverty and family separation and disintegration, victimization through acts of murder, terrorism, torture, involuntary disappearance, sexual slavery, rape, and sexual abuse. If one intends to destroy a culture, women are tactical targets of special significance because of their important roles within the family structure Compounding these gender-specific effects are the lifelong social, economic and psychologically traumatic consequences of armed conflict and foreign occupation and domination (UN, 1995). The Iron Lady like Parveena Ahanger chairperson of APDP is known by the role she played for disappeared and missing persons and there are many others who stood and are fighting the oppression by will power and they are resisting the state in all fronts. Julinda Abu Nasr, a famous citizen of Lebanon, has once said in 1980s that, “If a child especially a girl grows up with the idea of violence, that you get what you can by force, what kind of world will this be?”….perhaps ours is same story!
—Samreena Zahoor Lone hails from Baramulla and is pursuing masters in History from IGNOU. She can be reached at: [email protected]