Is Kashmir turning into a Talibanic society which suppresses women with death?

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Posters have surfaced in the valley under the banner of Sanbaaz Association which have issued stern warnings for the denizens of Kashmir Valley and one condemnable direction specifically for the fairer gender.

The poster threatens to burn girls alive if they continue movement on their two-wheelers.

The poster starts with a one liner – ‘Yeh Kashmir Hamara hai is ka faisla hum karengey’ which translates to Kashmir is ours and we will decide its fate.

The poster then goes on to warn the owners of shops, vendors and all business establishments to not work till the end of ‘this fight’.

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The first point aims at MS Mall, Dickinson, HDFC Bank and Lala Sheikh who have been running their operations defying the curfew. The poster issues a last and final warning to the aforementioned to ‘pick and choose’.

The second point is aimed at girls advising them not to ride on their scooties (non-geared two-wheelers). If the girls are found doing so, they will be burned as will be their scooties.

Sangbaz Poster

Then the poster goes on to request mosques to use slogans and ‘taranee’ (to ‘motivate’ the people of Kashmir).

With similar such warning and appeals, the poster finally issues the last appeal to help those who have been affected by the Strike. The poster signs off with This war will continue till we achieve freedom.

Now all the separatists factions have denied releasing any such poster and many in Kashmir have called it a handiwork of securityforces to inspire hate in Kashmir.

The security forces maintain that the separatists have realised the mistake in making a chauvinistic statement about the girls riding on two-wheelers.

It is all too well known that the cases of violence against women go widely unreported and even then the reported crime against women is Kashmir is high. According to official figures, for instance, the registered cases of  molestation in J&K were 1413 where a whopping 1027 were from the valley, 3 from Ladakh and the rest from Jammu. Out of a total of 354 cases of rape 98 were from Kashmir and the women’s cell in Srinagar has gone on record to say that the numbers in Kashmir are lower because of a bigger sense of social stigma in a reserved society such as Kashmir’s.

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The number of eve-teasing cases in the valley were higher too with 169 cases out of the total 307.

A poster that comes to warn females to not ride on their vehicles is alarming. On surface, it warns women to not ride the vehicles to reach their tuition classes or other places they may be commuting to. But the threat to burn the vehicles and women, may also be a representative of a deeper Talibanistic instinct of some hardliners in the valley who would not allow women to take liberties in their space.

The suppression of women by violence is all to well known in Afghanistan and many areas in Pakistan. If the scenario is finding unopposed presence in the valley, then the whole concept of ‘Azadi’ is not only bogus, it is also a siren for the want of a repressive Fundamentalist Islamic state which does not bode well for anyone.