Amid COVID-19 lockdown, domestic violence on the rise in Kashmir

Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir -

Given the lockdown has been forcing people to stay home, it
is obvious that people get a lot of time to spend indoors. Coupled with the
already shrunk financial conditions, men are finding it difficult to stay calm.

Few such women, who faced the inhospitable conditions at
home, were heading towards Deputy Commissioner Pulwama’s office so as to seek
some financial help. While requesting for a call from my cell phone, the women
began to express their ordeal.

“As the lockdown forced my home to stay indoors, he is quite
upset these days. I try to cheer him up by trying new recipes, new dishes but
fail. He is so irritated,” says Dilshada Banoo, a housewife, from a suburb of
Pulwama town.

Fatima, standing next to Dilshada, says, “Even on little
things, my husband is almost ready to slap me. At times, I feel very let down.
However, I understand that when we are not able to feed our children well due
to the prevailing lockdown, it causes him a lot of stress.”

It is not just women who have been facing some tough time
indoors, the behaviour of children has turned aggressive. Some days ago, Zubair
Mir (name changed) from Arihal village of Pulwama was waiting outside a medical
shop to provide first aid to his 7-year-old son who had broken a glass and hurt
himself in the process.

A motorcycle mechanic by profession, Zubair said, “I tried
all the tricks to reduce my son’s screen time but to no avail. He has grown
quite aggressive after the lockdown was imposed. He hardly leaves my smartphone
now. This injury is just because I asked for the phone but he threw it and also
smashed a glass on the wall.”

Amid COVID-19 lockdown, domestic violence on the rise in Kashmir

Vasundhra Phatak Masoodi, former chairperson Jammu and
Kashmir Women’s Commission, said that she is getting a lot of calls from women
in Kashmir complaining about domestic violence amid COVID-19 lockdown.

“I try to counsel them over the phone. What else can I do for now? It helps a little bit as they feel someone is there to listen to them. But this surely indicates a rise in domestic violence cases in Kashmir,” she was quoted by a news agency earlier this week.

There have been many new cases of domestic violence against women in Kashmir but during the lockdown, it is quite difficult for them to report these cases.

Pertinently, the J&K Women’s Commission was winded up after
the erstwhile State’s special status (Article 370) was abrogated and no new
commission was formed which has aggravated the matters for women facing
domestic violence.

Although, the increased cases of domestic violence have come
under the notice of J&K High Court and certain suggestions have been made,
but the formation of a commission for women can only ensure women aren’t let
down during the present crises and ensure their grievances and complaints are
redressed without them going from pillar to post.



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