50 Days And Counting: Women’s Group Surveys Kashmir To Find This
An all women’s group of leaders from different organizations has returned from Kashmir with a detailed upcoming of the on ground situation. In a press conference the team that spent over five days in the valley said, “this was the last blow to the freedom of people in Kashmir.” The team of five women spoke to students, housewives, shopkeepers, paramedics, patients, helpers security guards, army personnel and others during their short stay there. Their aim? To see in person if normalcy had returned to Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 which gave the state’s citizens special powers and protection. (Read About Article 370 Here). As a result, has been a complete clampdown of communication in the state for the last 50 odd days.
In this team were CPIM leader Annie Raja, educationist Dr. Kanwaljit Kaur, Pankhuri Zaheer from National Federation of Indian Women, Poonam Kaushik from Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan and Syeda Hameed from Muslim Women’s Forum.
They say that they covered 17 villages and 13 areas to asses diverse regions, speak to different authorities and engage with all kinds agencies working on the ground. “We interacted with all sections of people over there and visited different institutions and we saw what’s actually happening with the people of Kashmir,” Annie Raja said. Srinagar, Bandipore, Shopian and Pulwama districts were among those the team went to.
“This abrogation of Section 370 has united the people of Kashmir,” noted Raja. “They speak in one voice and their sentiment is now one that is everyone irrespective of age, gender, locality feel that this is the last blow on the freedom and dignity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
State of law
“The judiciary is paralyzed,” said Advocate Poonam Kaushik, who practices in the Delhi High Court and is the leader of Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan,. She said the team met lawyers of J&K High Court during the trip. “The office of High Court Bar Association has been locked since the lockdown and the lawyers told us that so many from the fraternity have been arrested and put behind bars under Public Safety Act in various Jails of Northern India without the police informing their parents which jail they are lodged in,” she asserts.
In the last two months many groups have visited the valley in a bid to understand the on ground situation better. The clampdown has trigged a large number of debates that go beyond the act of abrogation to how it’s ‘being handled’. This issue is far from over, do watch this space for more.