Kashmir Has 97000 Orphans, 32000 Widows: Study13 March 2010
Srinagar: The two-decade conflict in Kashmir has rendered more than 32000 women as widows and more than 97000 children as orphans, reveals a research study. “There were 32400 widows and 97200 orphans in 2008 in Kashmir and the number is growing. With the continuity and intensification of armed conflict, their life conditions have deteriorated to the miserable subhuman level,” says ‘A Sociological Study of Widows and Orphans’, conducted by noted Sociologist, Prof Bashir Ahmad Dabla. “The number of widows grew up from 16000 in 2000 to 32400 in 2008,” says the study. It says sudden death of male members has shattered thousands of families leaving behind impoverished and emotionally traumatized widows and orphans. However, the study reveals that condition of widows and orphans of security forces was better as compared to those of militants or civilians. “The widows and orphans belonging to military, security and police forces have been taken care of properly by providing pension and other monetary benefits to widows and scholarships-fellowships and reservation for orphans by their respective organisations. But at the same time, dominant majority of widows and orphans belonging to ex-militants and common people suffer extremely.” “Neither state nor NGOs have been able to help them in an organised and systematic manners. The tragic aspect of the situation is that the state has not adopted any specific social policy and programme in this regard. Their problems accumulate and intensify day-by-day,” it reveals. On how can be condition of widows and orphans improved, the study suggests: “For the welfare of widows and orphans, a 3-tier effort system is necessary. Individuals, society-community and the state must share responsibilities in terms of coordination, organisation and effective implementation of relevant programmes.” “The problems of widows and orphans can’t be solved effectively and in totality without taking help of broader society. The efforts of NGOs are highly needed, as their efforts are very small here. Immediate need is to take the help of NGOs in purposeful and effective implementation of governmental programmes and schemes,” it suggested.