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.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Sorry State of the State Commission for Women

Afsana files two related stories on workings of the State Commission for Women (SCW). We hope the new Chairwoman will invigorate the Commission

(Ms. Afsana Rasheed, 29, was born and raised in Srinagar and attended the Minto Circle High School. She graduated from the Government College for Women with a Bachelor's degree in science, and completed her post-graduation degree from the University of Kashmir, obtaining her Master's Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism. She has received numerous world-wide recognition and awards for covering economic depravation and gender sensitive issues in Kashmiri journals, which include Sanjoy Ghose Humanitarian Award, Bhorukha Trust Media Award 2007, and the 2006-07 UNFPA-Ladli Media Award. Her work on "Impact of conflict on subsistence livelihood of marginalised communities in Kashmir and Alternatives", was recognized by Action Aid India in 2005-06. She has travelled abroad attending a workshop on "conflict Reporting" by Thomson Foundation, Cardiff, UK, and a seminar for women in conflict areas by IKV Pax Christi, Netherlands. In February 2008, she compiled a book, "Waiting for Justice: Widows and Half-widows.")

Women panel disposed of 12 pc cases in 2008-09

Srinagar: The State Commission for Women disposed of only 12 per cent cases during 2008-2009. Out of 126 cases dealt by the commission during 2008-2009, only 15 cases were resolved by it. These cases related to dowry and harassment, divorce, desertion, domestic violence, maintenance, custody of children and cheating or fraud.

More than 1,600 cases have been registered by the commission since its establishment. Out of 1,693 cases, 1,260 are from Kashmir and 433 from Jammu. The commission is a statutory body set up in March 2000 under the State Commission for Women Act, 1999. According to the annual report 2008-2009 of the commission, 14 cases were registered by it in 2000. Out of which, 11 were from the Kashmir province and three from the Jammu region. Out of 39 cases registered the following year, 23 were from the Kashmir division and 16 from Jammu. In 2002, the number of registered cases in the state showed a steep increase. Out of 208 registered cases, 185 were from Kashmir and 23 from Jammu.

In 2003, the number of registered cases was 160, with Kashmir registering 146 and Jammu 14. A year later, the highest number of 265 cases were registered. Out of this, 148 were from Kashmir. This was followed by 260 cases registered in 2005, including 137 cases from Kashmir.

In 2006, a total of 237 cases were registered by the commission - 230 in Kashmir and seven in Jammu. In 2007, out of 216 cases, 181 were from the valley and 35 from Jammu, whereas out of 167 registered cases, 113 were from the Kashmir division . The annual report shows 86 and 41 cases registered from Kashmir and Jammu, respectively, up to March last year.

State Commission for Women gets cases of NRIs mistreating wives

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir State Commission for Women is normally expected to receive and dispose of cases relating to women in the state, but the commission has so far received six cases wherein non-resident Indians (NRIs) have been accused of mistreating their wives.

The cases have been referred to the National Commission for Women and Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, New Delhi. However, to date, no action, whatsoever, has been taken against the accused.

The cases include torture, harassment, re-marriage, divorce, maintenance, transfer of property to children, child support money enhancement, desertion and cheating.

The Commission, a statutory body set up in March 2000 under the State Commission for Women Act 1999 received a complaint in January last year wherein the complainant, Dr Saphya Mukhtar, alleged that she had been cheated by Ishtiaq Hussain, an electrical engineer in Riyadh -- Saudi Arabia.

Hussain was still married to a certain Dr Ratooba two years ago when he entered into wedlock with Dr Mukhtar. As per an application by Dr Ratooba on September 25, 2007, she married Hussain on September 11, 2005. However, her in-laws ill-treated and threw her out of the house.

In another case (Sakeena Bano versus Mushtaq Ahmad Suda), no maintenance has been paid to Sakeena. As per her complaint lodged on January 1, 2009, she married Suda (settled in Germany) in July 2007. The complaint added that on approaching the German Embassy for a visa to visit her husband, she was told that Mushtaq was already married to a German lady.

Another complainant, Mutaharra Abida Waheed Deva, married Mohammad Amin Beigh in September 1994. However, he divorced her on January 16, 2007. The couple has two children. The Commission has asked Beigh to pay deferred child maintenance. Deva now demands an increase in child support.

After her marriage in July 2003, Dr Sameena Gul was tortured and physically assaulted by her husband Dr Mohammad Afzal-u-din and her in-laws. She filed a complaint on November 16, 2006. Afzal-u-din left for Riyadh without informing his wife. He later verbally divorced her. Dr Sameena, however, says that she has not received any divorce papers and doesn't know if she is still married or divorced.

In a similar case from Jammu, Moninder Kour versus Gurnam Singh, the accused never showed up, despite being repeatedly summoned by the commission.

Allegations of torture, harassment and re-marriage have been mentioned by Moninder Kour in her application dated June 5, 2007. She has learnt that her husband is married in Australia.

The annual report of the Commission says that since it doesn't have jurisdiction outside the country, the case was forwarded to the National Commission for Women.
Naseem Bagh to become Chinar Heritage Park.


Ganai said...

Where is the HeadOffice of state commission for women in srg

Kashmir Forum said...

Afsana from Srinagar wtites:

State Commission for Women is located in the premises of Old Secretariat. Currently, the office shifted to Jammu (Darbar move) but some employees mght be in Srinagar as well this time.