Conflict Taking Toll On Valley Women12 November 2011
Srinagar: The turmoil has taken a serious toll on womenfolk in Kashmir with post-marital feuds resulting in divorces and break-ups showing a tremendous surge. Reason: misunderstandings, less tolerance and money matters between the couples. According to figures available with State Women’s Commission (SWC), the domestic and post martial feuds in Kashmir are witnessing an alarming surge. “Of the 1820 cases registered with the commission since last few years, 1333 were from Kashmir and just 487 from Jammu region,” SWC chairperson, Shameema Firdous told Rising Kashmir. She said the figures are really alarming. “Huge influx of cases has put the commission on toes.” “Although the offices have shifted to Jammu as part of half-yearly durbar move, the commission hears at least 20 cases a day in its Srinagar office,” she said Shameema said the nature of cases is shocking -misunderstanding over small things proves fatal. “It leads to divorce. We try our best to persuade the couple to reconcile,” she said. “No divorce is done in the commission. We put in our efforts to keep the relationship intact. In the current year alone, some 300 cases were registered with the commission. Some cases even go to courts. This happens when two sides fail to reconcile after lot of efforts from our side,” she said. Expressing her anguish over the deteriorating social fabric of the women folk, the SWC chairperson said the rate of divorce and post-marital disputes is high in lower income groups. “Though we have some cases of high profile people including some NRIs as well, but the rate is high within low income groups,” she said. She termed the money matters especially dowry demands as major cause of post-marital disputes. “The demand for money or dowry causes tension between the families. Husbands are involved in physical and mental torture of their wives and this continuous harassment leads to suicides,” she said. Shameema, however, said coercion by in-laws has shown a decreasing trend. “There used to be cases where pressure especially torture by in-laws would become major reason for feud. But this thing has shown a decreasing trend. We have registered very few cases where in-laws were the cause of tension,” she said. She said the situation in Kashmir during past two decades has made male and female folk less tolerant. SWC chairperson said each case is heard at least four times. “We try to settle the cases as soon as possible. The commission has managed to settle over 600 cases. It means that we have managed to persuade two sides to start afresh leaving behind all bitterness,” she said. “Since SWC is not that old, many women are still unaware about it. There needs to be a massive awareness campaign so that women could know their rights could be protected by somebody,” she added.