Kashmir Indepth

Every 48 hrs, a rape was reported in Kashmir last year

Srinagar, Jan 9: In 2018, nearly 1,000 cases of crimes against women were reported from Kashmir alone even as many others may have suffered silently due to the social stigma attached to such incidents.

Data highlights a grim picture.

Every 48 hours, one rape case was registered in Kashmir in 2018.

As per the official figures of the police department accessed by The Kashmir Monitor, at least 142 cases of rape were registered in the valley during the year.

Police, as per the data, disposed-off 116 cases, while 26 are still being investigated.

During 2018, some of the heart-wrenching rape cases were reported in the state.

In March, an eight-year old Muslim girl was kidnapped, gang-raped, and then murdered in Kathua district of Jammu region, a crime that shook the state even as people rallied in favour of the accused in Jammu under the behest of the then BJP ministers.

A nine-year-old girl was also raped and murdered allegedly by her family member in north Kashmir’s Uri town in the previous year.

A police official said many crimes against women go unreported in the valley either due to the remoteness of the location or victims choosing to stay silent out of fear or social stigma attached to the crime.

“There are many instances of crimes like rape, molestation, and eve-teasing where the victims prefer to remain silent,” the official said.

Data reveals that police registered 667 women kidnapping cases last year, of which 417 were disposed-off, while the rest are still under investigation.

That is around two women getting kidnapped each day of the year.

Similarly, 35 cases of eve-teasing and 143 of domestic assault were registered in the valley during the year.

In most domestic assault cases, the reasons leading to the assault include dowry, interference from in-laws, misunderstandings, giving birth to female babies leading to matrimonial disputes and family squabbles.

Women, thus, are subjected to mental as well as physical torture in homes, workplaces and in educational institutions.

“Very little percentage of crimes against women is reported as women mostly prefer to remain silent without lodging any compliant against their family members. Women also face harassment outside their homes be at workplaces or in educational institutions,” the police official said.

Women rights activist, Ezabir Ali, said that prolonged conflict, moral degradation, and loss of values in the society were responsible for crimes against women in Kashmir.

“Due to heavy militarization, women are vulnerable and susceptible to these atrocities. In a conflict situation, women’s bodies are used and abused as war zones to shame and humiliate societies. Both social and heavy presence of military has made women vulnerable and susceptible to all kinds of violence and crimes against women,” she said. (The Kashmir Monitor)

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