Crime against women goes unabated
It is really stunning that Kashmir is radically changing from a sober and non-violent society into a criminal nation. Though smaller crimes like theft and pick-pocketing did take place, but never was the atmosphere so vicious as it’s now.
For the past many years Kashmir has been witnessing crimes of different nature. Among them, crimes against women have gone up over the years, and they seem to go unabated. In this regard, a recent study has revealed startling figures that point to an alarming situation that Kashmir is confronted with these days. The rape cases have gone up by more than sixty per cent during the last two years. Although some dowry deaths were not unheard of in Kashmir, their number also has increased manifold in the past several years. Just a couple of days back a woman in south Kashmir was found with her throat almost slit. Somehow, the lady was taken to hospital and her husband has been arrested. Kashmir has lived a conservative life and married women have often become victims of harsh treatment by their in-laws that includes making undue demands of the woman’s parents, resulting either in divorce or burning. But, nobody would ever think that this would one day become so common that almost every month we hear somebody being burnt alive or put to death for not fulfilling the demands of her in-laws.
The most shocking crime is the one that took place recently when a law student was attacked with acid. The incident shook the very basis of our collective conscience and everybody condemned it as barbaric and inhuman. Although the police cracked the crime within a fortnight, this incident has raised many questions with regard to the safety of women, in general, and college students, in particular. Be it the acid attack at Nowshehra, or the killing of a girl near a coaching centre in Srinagar, these incidents point to the fact that Kashmir society has deteriorated so much that crimes have become a rule rather than an exception here. Kashmir was known across India for being largely free of crimes and criminals. However, it is not so now, especially when it comes to crimes against women. See, how Kashmir erupted over the alleged rape and death of the two Shopian women and the shameful act that the armed forces indulged in at Kunanposhpora? The wounds from these inhuman incidents are so fresh that whenever somebody talks about crimes against women, we are reminded of the two horrendous episodes. These crimes were committed by the men in uniform and, allegedly, as part of their strategy to curb militancy. But, when we as local Kashmiris commit such crimes, they speak volumes about our failure to maintain the traditions and values that made us unique in the entire subcontinent. Outside Kashmir, people still believe that Kashmir being the land of saints is much better than most of the states in India, especially with regard to our moral values that our saints and Sufis spent their life to teach us. Being Muslims, our life must be guided by the Quran and the life of our beloved Prophet (saw). It appears that those values have gone with the wind.
Why victimise women? This poor lot has already suffered heavily during the past more than two decades for a ‘crime’ which Kashmiri youth (males, especially) has been committing to liberate this land from their ‘enemy’. In order to demoralise us, the ‘enemy’ chose the soft target and inflicted all sorts of pain on women here. But, why do WE commit such crimes? Rape is a crime that leaves women devastated for life. We aren’t a western country where this kind of stigma will be ignored. In our society, such a woman is forced to live her life facing taunts from every corner. Nobody will sympathise with her, not even her close relatives.
Law alone will not help to protect women. We need to take a collective call on this menace and protect our women from goons that have let loose reign of terror against these hapless creatures. They are our honour and let us protect our honour at all costs!