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Women are delivering babies prematurely due to stress in Kashmir, claims fact-finding report

From left: Pankhuri Zaheer Kawaljit Kaur, Sayeda Hameed, Annie Raja and Poonam Kaushik releasing fact-finding report at Press Club of India on Tuesday
From left: Pankhuri Zaheer Kawaljit Kaur, Sayeda Hameed, Annie Raja and Poonam Kaushik releasing fact-finding report at Press Club of India on Tuesday

Women are delivering babies prematurely due to stress in the present situation in Kashmir. There are several cases of overdue deliveries with birth deformities. Women cannot come in time for deliveries. There are very few ambulances, the few that are running are stopped at pickets on the way. This has been claimed by a fact-finding report that is released during a press meet in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The fact-finding report is released by a team of women who visited Kashmir from  September 17th to 21st in order to witness the present situation in the valley and to conceive the ground reality, particularly about how the ’43-day lockdown’ affected women and Children. It can be mentioned here that the team of five women consisted of Annie Raja, Kawaljit Kaur, Pankhuri Zaheer from National Federation of Indian Women(NFWIW), Poonam Kaushik from Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan and Syeda Hameed from Muslim Women’s Forum.

The six-page report, what they termed as ‘Women’s Voice: fact-finding report on Kashmir’ holds forth on the different situations faced by the people in Kashmir after the abrogation of article 370 on 5 August 2019. In the report, the team asserts that the first visual they witnessed was the presence of a large number of Armed force personnel, at the same time the shops, hotels, schools, colleges, universities, and institutes were closed.

While elucidating the situation in the valley, Sayeda Hameed from Muslim Women’s Forum says, “It was like a cloud of depression that we walked into. We have returned with a heavy heart.”

“We were told that slapping persons of any age, from children to elderly was a new normal. Many young boys are missing. It feels like that the forces are very angry at the young boys that it has to be a stone pelter or kind of anti-social and undesirable,” says Sayed while addressing the media persons in Press Club of India.

The fact-finding report mentions that everywhere they went there were two inexorable sentiments. The first was the ‘want for Azadi’; nothing of either India or Pakistan. While the second was the mothers’ anguished cries asking for an immediate stop to this ‘brutalization of innocents’.

While speaking to this correspondent, Pankhuri Zaheer from the National Federation of Indian Women said, “There is fear among the people. They are not getting proper medical facilities, Kashmir is under complete lockdown.” When asked about whether they will approach the government with this issue, she said, “We are planning to approach the government. But there is less hope of taking actions.”

Annie Raja, the General Secretary of National Federation of Indian Women stressed on the point that there is a violation of democracy and democratic rights in Kashmir. ” Many leaders of political parties are detained. No political party, be it a national or state party, no one is allowed to discuss the issues and decide the strategies but only BJP can do this,” said Annie Raja at the Press Meet.

The team now demands to withdraw Army and Paramilitary forces with immediate
effect. For confidence building, it demands to cancel all cases/ FIRs and
release all those, especially the youth who are under custody and in jail since the
Abrogation of Article 370. Conducting inquiry on the widespread violence unleashed by the Army and other security personnel and compensation to all those families whose loved ones lost lives because of non-availability of transportation and absence of communication have made to their list of demands to the government.

Written by Mahmodul Hassan

Mahmodul Hassan writes on Human rights, Politics, and Social Justice. The author can be contacted at: email.mahmodul@gmail.com

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