DND Monitoring Report
The recently released Fact Finding Report (FFR) prepared by Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) titled “Voices of Kashmiri Women” is not different than the previously released FFR conducted by National Federation Indian Women, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan and Muslim Women’s Forum of India.
Both Fact Finding Reports on Kashmir confirm that Muslim Kashmiris living in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) are facing worst kind of human rights abuses and violations.
However, the report of WSS is more vocal about how sexual abuse is being used as a tool to purge and subjugate Kashmiris by Indian Army.
The WSS Report points out that sexual abuse is used by Indian Army in IOK as it (Indian Army) does in Manipur, Gujarat, Wakapalli, Khairlanji, Singur, Kandhamal and Dantewada to humiliate those who stand for freedom or for justice.
A four-member team from Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) (Kiran Shaheen, Nandini Rao, Pramodini Pradhan and Shivani Taneja) visited the Kashmir Valley (read as Indian Occupied Kashmir) on September 23-28, 2019. Their aim was to interact with the people, especially women and children, to listen to their voices and understand the present conditions since the abrogation of Article 370 by the Indian government.
The report indicates that the team traveled across the districts of Srinagar and Shopian to the South, and Kupwara and Baramullah to the North.
The team gathered reality check information as part of fact finding from the people of various walks of life – older and younger women stuck in their homes, school teachers, hospital functionaries, hawkers, scrap-dealers, roadside vendors, shopkeepers, orchard owners, taxi drivers, auto drivers, lawyers, journalists, activists and school and college students.
Important pointers of WSS Report are as follow:
- The entire valley is reeling under a silence that is anything but normal.
- The risks of being picked up are real.
- Freedom of speech has been severely curtailed.
- Situation is altogether different from what the Indian state and media have portrayed.
- Children are (had been) picked up, detained and sometimes sexually tortured for days.
- Some children are sent back home in a state of terror and others continue to be in the custody of the security forces without any official entry being made of their detention. Families do not know whether their young men and boys are being detained in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan or Haryana. Authorities demands money ranging from Rs 6,000 to Rs 200,000 from families to release their relatives.
- Women and girls live in a constant fear of molestation and abuse.
- In localities of Srinagar, women and girls are sent to sleep in ‘safer’ zones by their families where police raids are not so frequent.
- The psychological stress caused by the continuing occupation has led to high levels of anxiety and depression levels, and the people consume anti-depressant drugs and carry them on their person at all times.
- Anyone can be detained even while crossing the road, playing football, sleeping or having tea.
- The Indian security forces in Kashmir enjoy complete impunity and cases of encounters, enforced disappearances, sexual violence, illegal detentions, torture, entering houses at any time of day or night, breaking windows and destroying property are now normal in IOK.
- Impunity is offered through AFSPA, PSA and other draconian laws, ineffective judicial mechanisms whenever justice is sought, and indifference continue unabated.
- The people have lost faith in the judiciary. They say that even habeas corpus petitions are not being heard by the J&K High Court.