A life in fear
Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil
Violence against women is on the rise in the Kashmir Valley
Every evening, Saima (name changed) of Pulwama district forces her nine-year-old son and five-year-old daughter to sleep early. Then she shuts all the doors and windows and braces herself for her husband’s return. As he beats her up yet again, Saima tries in vain to suffocate her voice behind the walls. And still her greatest fear, she says between sobs, is, “he threatens to leave me.”
Saima’s tears, unfortunately, are a repetition of countless women in Kashmir who have been subjected to domestic violence and, worse, have accepted it as their fate. Over the years, despite having a strong backing of law against discriminatory practices, violence against women has not only continued but has steadily increased — by a whopping 22.1 per cent in 2011 as compared to 2010.
Data compiled by the Jammu & Kashmir Police Crime Branch reveals that in the past two years, it has registered 4,066 cases of crimes against women. This includes 1,797 cases of molestation, 187 rape cases, 1 gang rape, 1,279 cases of kidnapping and abduction, 426 eve-teasing cases, one case of dowry death, 177 cases of cruelty at the hands of husbands, 195 suicide cases, 4 cases under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, and two cases of immoral trafficking. In comparison, only 1,832 such incidents were recorded in the women police station.
(http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/article3442772.ece 22/05/12, The Hindu)