In the past isolated protests cases by women in Kashmir such as Asiya Andrabi (head of the DeM), Anjum Zamarud Habib (an erstwhile Hurriyat member arrested for allegations of funding militants), Parveena Ahanger (founder of Association of Parents of Disappeared People) against govt and security forces have been reported in Kashmir. However, in 2016, after the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani, what has surfaced and is alarming is the active participation of women-led protests. In this new form of resistance or aggressive tactics, women, attempt to breach security cordons that surround anti-militant operations in a bid to disrupt them and help terrorists escape. “Our men have shed enough blood. But ‘azadi’ (freedom) will come when we join them,” say the women. The recent death of Khushboo Jaan from Gandapora, Shopian and the likes, indicate infusion of a fairly new tactics in Kashmiri context probably by the tanzeems who are now targeting young women to obtain their anti national objectives.
Unfortunately, many of these women are either suppressed or tricked into partaking; assisting anti-national elements, foolishly shooting themselves in their own feet. Lack of vision has probably made these women succumb to their traditional roles which are in great contrast to the rest of India, where ‘beti bachao and beti padhao’ are in vogue. Oblivious of the fact, that a mere decision to channelize all their efforts constructively towards self empowerment can change the tide and fate in their favor. It’s about time that Kashmiri women realize that they too have a critical role to play in the path for peace and development in their state. This will require correct appreciation of the existing scenario by keeping religious agendas at bay.
Cashing on the inability of these women to understand the larger picture, the anti-national elements have started aping the ISIS methodology of radicalizing through social media platforms. They employ examples from a spectrum of conflicts around the world to underline the argument of a larger war against Islam. This simplistic propaganda is even more seductive for impressionable, uncritical youth who adhere to and inhabit the radical preaching’s. This trick seems to work and leaves them in a dilemma: you are either with us for the fight for Kashmir or against us. For others, the reasons could include a desire for adventure and instant fame, romantic notion of fighting for religious beliefs, creating a new homeland and the fact that few are psychologically discontented with their life, marginalized, and have little to lose cannot be overlooked.
It appears that unknowingly they are helping anti national elements in preparing their own doom. When top Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist, Abu Dujana was recently neutralized in Kashmir, media reported that Dujana was a terror for women in the Valley and that with his death, women will feel more secure. Many of these women are foolishly charmed by the so called jihadists who have no single love interest and are usually involved with many women mostly harassing them. The shocking stories of ISIS treating Arab (Sunni, Yazidi) women as sex slaves, forcing them into marriage, raping them in front of family members and children are no different than the atrocities that these Kashmiri women have been inflicted upon for so long by their own men folk in the name of jihad. The need of the hour is that these women get thinking and act intelligently to safeguard their own interests and of their future generations.