Violence against fair sex shows alarming upward trend
Kashmir Valley, commonly known as pir waer (Valley of Saints) has witnessed an alarming increase in domestic violence against women over the past few years as over two hundred cases of violence have been filed in 2014 so far.
Over the past few years many women have lost their lives due to the violence apart from being the victims of severe physical and mental torture.
Fakir Gujri which falls in Dara area of Srinagar has at least 100 to 150 households which have cases related to domestic violence.
Manzoor Ahmad, who works as a volunteer for the legal aid cell, says that there are hundreds of cases regarding domestic violence in Fakir Gujri area but due to lack of awareness people do not report these cases.
“The people of the area are less educated which is also why they don’t understand what really constitutes domestic violence,” adds Ahmad.
“In 2012 a woman of Ganderbal was poisoned by her in-laws but the parents of the girl didn’t report the case,” he added.
According to Gulshana Akhtar, SHO Women's Police Station Srinagar, 10 to 15 complaints of domestic violence are filed in police stations everyday.
“There has been a sharp increase in the cases regarding domestic violence against women, particularly since past few years. In 2014 alone we have got 270 complaints of domestic violence in which 28 cases were registered.”
She revealed that some cases are solved by the parties mutually while as some are solved in the village Panchayats.
Sharing other details, Akhtar informed that from Budgam area police has received the maximum number of such complaints.
Pertinently, the women’s police station was set up in 1998 to make women feel comfortable in approaching the police with complaints.
“The cases of mental and physical torture, dowry, cruelty, beating at the hands of in-laws are the most frequent complaints. Cases of violence include both minor and major issues. In most of these cases, women face violence at the hands of their in-laws,” Akhtar adds.
Past few years have also seen a number of deaths due to domestic violence.
A 28-year-old woman from Budgam died after being allegedly set ablaze by her in-laws in the beginning of 2013. In the same year a 30-year old woman from Pampore died after she was allegedly poisoned by her in-laws.
“I have been suffering from the past 10 years of my marriage as my husband is abusive and beats me everyday. He doesn’t trust me at all and searches for excuses to beat me. He beats me in front of my in-laws but because of my children I cannot do anything,” says a victim, who wishes not to be named.
According to the data provided by the Crime Branch Srinagar, seven persons have died in dowry-related cases in 2013 and 428 cases have been registered under ‘cruelty by husband’ compared to 301 cases in 2102 -- thus showing an increase by 127 cases.
Secretary, State Women Commission, Dr Mehraj-u-Din Rather says that “2551 cases have been filed in the commission since its inception in which 1869 cases were settled. Most of the cases registered here are about dowry, harassment, matrimonial disputes, likes the ones about the custody of children, etc.
Rather informed that presently 140 cases are in actual persuasion these days.
“We have done a few road-shows in Jammu. Organized awareness programs in far-flung areas of Kashmir and did some home visits to increase the awareness about the issues related to violence against women,” Rather said.
Judiciary’s Legal Aid Cell also handles the cases of domestic violence and provides lawyers to the people who cannot afford their services due to financial problems.
“Domestic violence exists but there is a little awareness about this issue, due to which it is not reported. The awareness is low, especially outside Srinagar. Most of the petitions filed in the court come under Section 498. Domestic violence exists in rich as well as poor, developed as well as under-developed countries. The legal aid cell has done many awareness programs regarding domestic violence but a lot needs to be done.” says advocate Abid Bhat.
A study sponsored by State Commission for Women, and carried out by Valley's well known sociologist, Prof. Bashir Ahmad Dabla in 2003 revealed a startling “30 percent women in Kashmir were physically abused by husbands”.