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Women in Kashmir are the worst sufferers of conflict. Experts say women generally have less tolerance for trauma. Some Kashmiri women have devised their own methods of escape by often transporting themselves into the unreal world of television soap operas and others are not able to forget gruesome tragedies they witnessed. Shams Irfan reports.
SRINAGAR, India -- Parveena Ahangar hasn't known peace for years.
"I can't describe how each day passes. I keep taking medicines every single day to control my tension. At night, I'm awake. I just can't sleep," Ahangar says.
She's felt this way, she says, ever since the day 21 years ago when she lost her son.
Although the human rights violations in the Indian-held Kashmir has been continuing by the Indian security forces since the partition, yet the same practice has intensified in wake of the current phase of Kashmir struggle which began on August 12, 2008 when Indian forces killed Hurriyat Conference leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz along with five other persons who were protesting against the government decision to allot 800 kanal of Kashmiri land to a
When sex ratio statistics from the 2010 Census were made public, many Kashmiris were shocked. But not Hameeda (name changed). The 54-year-old nurse working at Srinagar's only maternity hospital, Lalla Ded, knew that the girl child was fast becoming an unwanted species in Kashmiri households.
In armed conflict, the experiences of women are varied. From victims to survivors, and from peace-builders to perpetrators of conflict, the categories of classification are indeed numerous. In the context of the conflict in Kashmir, however, what are the new opportunities that have been created for them? And what are their roles in it?
A conference on Peace and Justice for Kashmiri Women in Srinagar [ Images ] recently brought together representatives of more than half a dozen major women's organisations and Kashmiri academics, students, doctors, psychiatrists and human rights activists.
As Victims Of The Conflict
The two-day Intra-Kashmir Women's conference that concluded in Gulmarg on Thursday sought an end to protracted conflict in the State and decided to set up a joint forum for peace comprising women from both sides of the Line of Control (LoC).
"We are out on the streets with a message -- kill us before you kill our young boys and girls," says Rehana Ashraf, a female teacher in Indian Kashmir.
It is a stance which makes the security forces deeply anxious as they battle to suppress a surge of violent protests against India's rule of the Muslim-majority region.
Guns may have fallen silent in Indian-administered Kashmir but the fallout of the conflict, particularly on the health of the people, is showing up by the day. A recent study has indicated that the conflict is now taking its toll on the reproductive health of Kashmiri women; many of whom are unable to conceive.
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Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace organized a roundtable in December 2000 to discuss the important role fo women in peacebuilding and reconciliation initiatives in Kashmir. A group of women and men from Jammu and Kashmir representing different ages, communities, backgrounds ans political orientations participated in the roundtable discussion.
Women's Initiative for Peace in South Asia (WIPSA) visited Jammu and Kashmir from 24th June to 3rd July 2000. The purpose of the visit was to support the creation of women's intervention for peace in the region. At Jammu they were welcomed by the local organization Akhil Bharat Rachmnatmak Samaj which expressed their solidarity with the mission. Together they organized a rally for peace from the station to the center of the city.