Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Crimes Against Kashmiri Women by Domestic Sources on the Rise

Zeenat's report indicates that the society has a tendency to publicise police atrocities while downplaying domestic violence which is slowly dwarfing other causes

Kashmiri Women on the Receiving End

Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil (Kashmir Images)

Srinagar: Rising incidence of molestation in Kashmir calls for demilitarization backed up with proper and broad-based social initiative both at individual as well as collective levels, says an expert who has studied the problem here.

Molestation, this heinous crime against the women, especially in the domestic settings, was unheard of in Kashmir until recent past. However, during past couple of decades, incidents of molestation regularly make it to the news and experts believe that the past 20 years of political turmoil have intensified this problem.

“The molestation of women inside as well as outside the domestic framework, especially of the younger age groups, represents brutal action which hurts the women absolutely,” says a study by Valley’s noted sociologist, Prof Bashir Ahmad Dabla.

Dabla’s sample of survey comprised 200 women respondents across the Valley. And according to the study, while in domestic framework, most of the times, people involved in molesting women included cousins, distant relatives and neighbors, in out-of-domestic context, office colleagues and armed forces and armed militants were found involved in more than 60 percent of the cases.

On the places where acts of molestation are committed, the research reveals that most of the cases occurred at residential places and offices followed by agriculture fields.

The researcher studied 66 molestation cases which had occurred in 2000-2001. However, only five of these cases had been reported to the police, which shows that majority of such cases go unreported.

On the cause responsible for the acts of molestation, the research points out that “16 percent cases occurred during raids by the armed forces, 11 cases resulted in over-crowded public places, love-related matters accounted for percent, enmity and jealousy of working women for six percent, sexual lust seven percent, indecent dress of women contributed for four percent cases, while physical beauty of women accounted for two percent cases, acts of juvenile delinquency were responsible for six percent and impact of films another six percent cases.

On the short-term and long-term implications of molestation on victims’ lives, most of the respondents, the research reveals, preferred silence. “This response may be explained in terms of the tendency to hide the actual details. However, a few respondents conveyed the consequences of molestation as losing good reputation, creating marital problems, compelling some to commit suicide, difficulty in getting proper match for girls, developing psychological problems, and extreme and negative reaction of men,” the study reveals.

Dabla says the percentage figures of molestation cases in 2009 will be much higher than what it was in 2000-2001.

“It has increased both in contexts of modernization, westernization as well as militarization,” he says, adding “the militarization aspect has increased more as compared to modernization and westernization.”

On preventive measures, Dabla said, “Demilitarization should be initiated with solid commitment on part of military hierarchy. They should order their forces and train them to learn and respect the cultures and sentiments of the local people.” Dabla says, “There should also be broad-based social initiative on part of individuals and groups to stop the menace.”

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