Women play a role in mediation and conflict resolution. But in Kashmir, India’s army is stopping women from playing such a role.
India’s Army Used Rape as a Tool of War in Kashmir, Now Whole India is Engulfed in Rape Epidemic, Says Altaf Wani
By Our Special Correspondent
GENEVA—A United Nations panel discussing role of women in peace building were shocked when senior Kashmir freedom leader Altaf Hussain Wani told them that India started using rape as a tool of war in Kashmir. Now, the whole of India suffers a rape epidemic.
The remark came inside the UN building in Geneva during a side event on ‘Women’s role in mediation and conflict resolution.’
The event was sponsored by several UN-accredited NGOs. To bolster his case, Wani carefully built his argument.
History has shown, Wani said, that a woman is the best binding force for her family and society, and that when women get a chance, they often prove themselves to be consummate peace-builders.
“But the conflict to which I belong, Kashmir, there is no space for women to come out and practice peace building and conflict resolution,” Wani said, attributing the problem to India’s army that pushes Kashmiri women back.
“When women tried to come out the Indian soldiers harassed them, sexually assaulted them, and their husbands and children were killed,” Wani said.
Wani said there is a good reason behind the comparison between India’s ‘rape policy’ in Kashmir and the breakout of ‘rape epidemic’ inside mainland India.
“This happens when States don’t implement UN conventions on women.”
In India’s case, he said New Delhi has given ‘impunity’ to the Indian army, which means the Indian army soldiers can do everything in Kashmir that they cannot do in mainland India.
“Sexual abuse,” he said, ‘is an everyday affair in Kashmir. But now it has expanded into mainland India.”
“There is a lesson in this,” he said. “When states become irresponsive to international conventions on women, they suffer a larger consequence. India is suffering that consequence now.”
Wani is leading a Kashmir Delegation to the 26th session of UN Human Rights Council. The team includes APHC leader Syed Faiz Naqshbandi; the Executive Director of Kashmir Institute of International Affairs (KIIR) Sardar Amjad Yousaf; APHC women’s leader Mrs. Shamim Shawl, Shagufta Ashraf, and Ahmed Quraishi, Executive Director of Youth Forum For Kashmir.
Geneva, 18 June 2014