Increasing Domestic Violence

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Kashmir valley has undergone tremendous change in the last few days. Unfortunately most of this change has been negative. With the start of political violence in 1990, safety of life became the first priority of life. The prolonged cycle of violence in the valley not only took its toll on the political life of the valley but the whole infrastructure was badly damaged. Economic activity and job creation came to a halt. With an increasing number of educated youth, many of them professionals, the State could not provide them any meaningful jobs and working opportunities. In the last two decades, the State Govt has largely resorted to temporary and adhoc measures to fill various vacancies in different departments. Most of these youngsters have taken up jobs which are not commensurate with their educational qualifications and also don’t provide them financial independence.

Alongwith the changes in the economic landscape, the social fabric of the Kashmiri society has also undergone tremendous changes in the last few decades. The traditional family structure is slowly beginning to break down. Due to a lack of worthwhile job opportunities and almost no culture of entrepreneurship, the youngsters in the valley increasingly feel frustrated. With a slow breakdown in the traditional family, erosion of century’s old values and increasing aspirations, the Kashmiri society seems to be on the edge. Like any other conflict zone, the apparent reduction in the levels of violence has brought these fissures to the fore. The valley is seeing regular incidents of domestic violence. In recent times not only has the valley witnessed incidents of acid throwing on the girls, but it has also witnessed the brutal rape and murder of a young girl. The culprits have already been pronounced punishment by the Hon’ble Court

The media recently reported about a couple of other incidents of domestic violence. Both the victims in these cases succumbed to their injuries in the hospital. Both the women were allegedly set ablaze by their in-laws and they succumbed to their injuries in the SMHS Hospital. Shahzada, a 25 year woman from South Kashmir’s Shopian district lost her battle to 95 percent burn injuries at SMHS Hospital late Monday evening while the 38-year-old Manjuli of Khanqah-e-Maula area of Srinagar city  died of burn injuries a day later. The relatives of Shahzada alleged that her husband began harassing her from the first day of their marriage. The relatives of the woman also alleged that she received severe beating from her husband on the fateful day and even her in-laws couldn’t stop him from beating her. The other woman Manjuli was allegedly burnt by her husband and as a result suffered severe burn injuries. According to reports Manjuli would often fight with her husband because of his drinking habit and that he wouldn’t do any work.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has expressed serious concern over the incident.“The recent cases where women were burnt alive and the death of a woman in domestic violence should be eye openers,” he said. The authorities need to act soon and book all the culprits responsible for these heinous crimes. The civil society, political and religious leaders, media and NGOs also need to do their bit by launching a campaign against rising incidents of domestic violence. Kashmiris also suffer from psychological scars and these incidents can’t be viewed without taking into account the broader issues that are an outcome of the prolonged political violence in the valley. This problem needs to be tackled soon, before it snowballs into a major crisis.

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