'A Matter of Anguish For Us As A Nation'

SRINAGAR: On the occasion of International Women’s Day, All Parties Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Wednesday said that ironically women and children are the most affected and worst sufferers in conflicts areas across the world, “not of their making”.

“While the Kashmir dispute has consumed thousands of innocent lives the impact it has had on the women of the disputed territory has been enormously huge. As widows half widows, mothers, orphaned daughters, sisters, the pain and suffering they bear and the hardships they encounter as a consequence of the loss of their spouse son daughter father mother are immense. Yet the fortitude and courage that they exhibit and the dignity and grace with which they face these untold hardships of a lifetime is salutary and a way for all to emulate,” he said in a statement issued by the Hurriyat Conference (M).

Mirwaiz said, “our women also had to undergo the assault and indignity of rape and molestation as a consequence of occupation at the hands of our oppressors.” “While women have been at the receiving end due to the conflict in the region, they also have to suffer the discrimination and depravity at the societal and domestic level which is very unfortunate.”

He further added that while Islamic teachings “clearly tell us to treat women as equals and respect their rights and claims to a life of dignity and equality, yet we have collectively failed at implementing this in our homes institutions or in the society at large”. “The shocking incidents of domestic violence, as witnessed off and on, are a matter of concern and anguish for us as a nation,” he complained.

The chief cleric said, “we cannot grow and move on as a nation unless we do not follow the Islamic teachings and change our attitude towards our women and provide them equal rights and opportunities to a life of dignity and self esteem.”

‘Be Bold For Change’

SRINAGAR: To celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and to pledge support to help forge gender parity many functions were held today to mark International Women’s Day.

The theme of this year’s Women’s Day is “Be Bold For Change”, an official spokesperson said.

In Srinagar, Women’s Study Centre of Government College of Education organized a two-day seminar titled ‘Creating Space, Not sympathy for Women’ to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Legislator, Anjum Fazli, who was chief guest, discussed in detail role of women in creating and maintaining the social circle.

She said that it is a good sign that today women stand shoulder-to-shoulder in all fields and have made their mark be it in Government or private sector.

Later, Ms Fazli inaugurated Art Gallery at the Women’s Study Centre, depicting various illustrations made by artists on women and womanhood.

A daylong seminar highlighting the importance of the Day was organized by Women’s Studies Centre and Dean College Development Council, University of Kashmir in collaboration with State Commission for Women at auditorium of EMMRC here today.

Chairperson State Women's Commission, Ms Nayeema Ahmed Mehjoor was the chief guest on the occasion, while as Vice chancellor Kashmir University, Prof Khurshid Andrabi, presided over the function.

Speaking on the occasion, Nayeema Mehjoor highlighted the importance of celebrating women’s day and called for socio-economic development of women.

She said that the Commission will carry out a mass campaign of public education and awareness about the rights available to women under the State and Centre laws. She added that the aim of Commission is to make women aware of their rights and empower them.

The Vice Chancellor, in his presidential address called for reviving and preserving ethical principles and moral values. 

Later, the chairperson visited Government College of Education and addressed the audience about challenges being faced by the working women.

In Baramulla, under the direction Principal District & Sessions Judge, Syed Touqeer Ahmad, an awareness programme highlighting rights of women was held in Tangmarg in collaboration with Tehsil Legal services Committee Tangmarg.

On the occasion, speakers urged the women participants to seek redressal of their grievances and made them aware of their rights. Many functions were also organized by Tehsil Legal Services Committee Sopore, Pattan and Boniyar to celebrate the day.

Meanwhile, J&K police this evening said that on the occasion of International Women’s day, police have established two police assistance booths near two educations institutions in Baramulla.

“These assistance booths have been established near Women Degree college and Girls Higher Sec School and will remain functional during whole academic session of the year,” police said in a statement. “The Booths in which only women staff will remain deputed are aimed to provide integrated legal service and assistance to women particularly the female students in the town.”

‘Chastity Of Women Always At Stake In J&K’

Observing that the region of Jammu and Kashmir is world’s highest militarized zone, Hurriyat patriarch Syed Ali Geelani, on Wednesday said that as such women “face immense difficulties, unfavourable and tough situation”.

While referring to “prevailing hard situations”, Geelani said, “life and chastity is always at stake in conflict zones like Jammu and Kashmir.”

Deploring international community for their “criminal silence about troublesome situations and pathetic condition” of women folk, the octogenarian Hurriyat Conference chairperson said, “Indian forces are using rape as a war weapon against this weaker section of society but it is highly shocking that till now nobody was tried for misdeeds nor punished.”

Geelani while releasing data for last 28 years in Kashmir, he said, “more than seven thousand women were sexually assaulted and in Kunan-Poshpora, Indian forces committed this grave crime against 36 young and elderly women. There are sufficient evidences about Kunan-Poshpora episode, however, not a single accused was tried for this heinous mishap.”

Commenting over Badra Payeen (Handwara) episode, Geelani said, “forces sexually assaulted mother and her daughter and till now the accused are roaming free. Then chief Minister in his shameless statement while giving clean chit to accused said (that) only one lady was raped.”

He said that in Budasgam “a bride along with guests was halted, raped, fired upon and (during which) killed an innocent guest”.

Referring to Shopian double rape and murder case, Geelani said, “after the mass gang rape by the Indian army in Kunan-Poshpora, the Shopian incident of Asiya and Niloofer is the worst incident in the history of Kashmir and this incident shook the conscious of every Kashmiri.” “Though the people illustrated their exemplary resentment against this gory incident but till now forces personnel involved were convicted nor FIR was filed against culprits,” he added.

While commenting over the incident, he said, “Omar Abdullah government played an important role in shielding the real culprits involved in the incident and they provided a safe passage for their exit. There were enough evidences available to prove the hand of the government forces into the dual murder and rape case of the two daughters of the nation.”

He further said, “women’s chastity is endangered in far flung areas but for the fear of social stigma, the sufferers never reveal the details about these incidents.”

“During people’s uprising in 2016, women faced immense problems and humiliations and scores including Insha lost her eye sight,” he recalled.

In his appeal to organisations for human rights, Geelani impressed upon them to take “cognizance of crime against women and fulfil assigned duties to safeguard their honour and chastity”.

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