International Women’s Day
Srinagar, Mar 08 (KNO): Amid surge in domestic violence cases, women in Jammu and Kashmir are feeling deprived of avenues to get justice and other basic rights.
Jammu & Kashmir State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights was scrapped soon after the Centre abrogated Article 370 on August 5, 2019 and since then there is no such panel for women where they can register their grievances.
According to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), experts, activists and NGOs working on gender issues believe that the commission was a substitute to police stations where women hesitate to file their complaints.
They said authorities have given approval for a special J&K-Ladakh cell at the National Commission for Women but it will have a very little impact as it would be a daunting task for victims to reach Delhi with their problems.
“There are options available such as filing complaints online there but not all can register it. A few women’s police station can’t handle all the cases. There is a need to restore women commission in J&K,” they said, adding that even those women who had filed cases in the commission before August 5 have also been left vulnerable as they have nowhere to go.
A pressure group based outside Kashmir who had reinstated the commission in Telangana after 30 months had already written to the Prime Minister demanding the restoration of the women commission in Jammu and Kashmir amid the rise in domestic violence cases across the erstwhile state.
Danish Zahoor, head of the WomComMatters in J&K told KNO that they have been pleading for the restoration of women commission as violence against women is increasing with each passing day.
“Women’s commission is purely a social institute and has nothing to do with politics. They were doing a great job especially for underprivileged women facing different issues,” he said.
According to Zahoor after the abrogation of the special status of J&K, women in the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been left in a lurch as they can’t go to Delhi to solve their issues in the national women’s commission.
He said that now authorities have given approval for a special J&K-Ladakh cell at the national commission for women but it will have a very little impact as it is not easy for the victims to reach Delhi with their problems.
“Yes, there are options that you can register problems online there but uneducated women and women living in remote far flung areas won’t be able to take up their issues to the commission,” he said.
“We have fighting for its restoration but as of now there has been very little response from the government and in near future we are going to file a PIL in this regard,” he said
The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) in its recent survey conducted by the Union Ministry of Health revealed that domestic violence against married women and sexual violence against young women has seen an uptick in Jammu and Kashmir. The prevalence of spousal violence against women aged between 18 and 49 years has risen to 9.6 per cent in 2019-2020 from 9.4 per cent in year 2015-16.
As per the survey, the ratio of young women, aged between 18 and 29, who experienced sexual violence by age of 18, has also increased to 4 percent from 3.1 percent.
However, it said married women in the age group 18-49 years who have experienced physical violence during a pregnancy have decreased from 1.3 percent to 1.2 percent.
Only 14 percent of the women after experiencing any kind of violence have sought help, however, over 77 percent have neither disclosed nor sought help about the violence they experienced, it added—(KNO)