Kashmiri women narrate woeful tale in Delhi meet
New Delhi, Sept 30: A cross section of Delhi’s civil society and women activists listened in silence as Parveena Ahangar, a middle-aged Kashmiri woman, narrated the torment of a mother whose son “disappeared” 20 years ago.
It’s believed that he was killed by armed forces. Parveena mentioned her son only once. After that she wept for dozens of others, naming them and describing the circumstances of their disappearance. Parveena is in Delhi with a group of Kashmiri women to narrate the horrors of a society at war, and to make another attempt to seek justice. It’s a diverse group including university and school teachers, a hospital worker, a journalist and some housewives. They have been invited here by Women’s Initiative for Peace in South Asia WISPA.
Hameedah Nayeem, a professor at Srinagar University, in a counterpoint to Parveena’s choking grief, provides the context in staccato objectivity. She says the current protests that started four months ago are peaceful. ‘’Protesters throw stones only after police firing or if a woman’s modesty is attacked, like armed forces forcibly snatching away the head-dress, as often happens,’’ she says.
Explaining what ‘’azadi’’- a slogan voiced routinely in the Valley — means, Nayeem says it means getting rid of the armed forces and their repression, and also, the establishment of democracy.
‘’In Delhi, you can’t understand what it means to live with the military for 20 years. They have taken over all the public space — schools, roads, hospitals, cinemas, everything. They can hold up anyone, enter anyone’s house do anything that they feel like,’’ she says. According to Nayeem, the military has taken over one million ‘’kanals’’ of land legally and another 2 million illegally in the Valley. ‘’This has destroyed the normal vocations of thousands of people,’’ she says.
The women from Kashmir silently weep as Parveena recounts the chilling story of 8-year old Samir Khan who was going to his uncle’s house one afternoon and disappeared. His mutilated body was found the next day in the river. Investigations showed that his frail body had been crushed by boots and a metal rod inserted into his mouth. ‘’Why is the government honouring policemen who are responsible for killing thousands in Kashmir?’’ she asks.
Parweena formed the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) to fight for investigation of all cases of what she calls ‘’enforced disappearance’’. According to her, over 8,000 cases of such disappearance are recorded.
In many cases investigations have been done and guilty persons from armed forces identified. ‘’But, we have to run from pillar to post trying to get somebody to hear our sorrow,’’ she says. The delegation presented a set of demands to home secretary G K Pillai, which included getting women involved in the peace process, demilitarization, withdrawal of AFSPA and PSA, release of imprisoned youth, prosecution of errant security personnel etc.
Whether it is the agony of Parveena Ahangar or the cold objectivity of Hameedah Nayeem, the message from the women of Kashmir is loud and clear-they will continue the struggle for justice and peace, and for end of what they call military rule in Kashmir. ‘’It’s an oath we have taken in the name of Allah. We will not give up,’’ says Parveena softly.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 30 Sep 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 30 Sep 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Oct 2010 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM NEWS
Srinagar, Sept 30: Despite centre including the release of protesters and stone pelters in its recently announced 8-point proposal, police have arrested scores of youth from different areas and have booked More
- Srinagar City
Srinagar, Sept 30: A special bus service for women will start from Friday, an official handout said. It said a deputation of civil society today called on the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Dr Asgar More
Alleges Kashmir Centric 8 Point Package
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Jammu, Sept 30: Normal life was crippled in Jammu today following a bandh call given by BJP against the alleged 'Kashmir centric' eight-point peace formula announced by the centre. Shops and business More
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
London, Sept 30: Former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf has said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's efforts to make peace with India at the cost of "selling Kashmir" had resulted in the 1999 Kargil More