BISMAH MALIK . SRINAGAR, Nov 2:Despite many unfortunate cases of the young and adult women being the subject of domestic violence being inflicted on them either in the heart of the city or in the remote corners, the state government is yet to come up with the law on domestic violence , Kashmiri women face at their homes.The law on domestic violence which was passed by the parliament has been an effective in all the states of India except Jammu and Kashmir since 2006.
Domestic Violence in a literal sense implies any violence at home in its various forms but the extract derived from Domestic Violence Act defines it as, “omission or commission of any act or conduct that harms or injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well being of a person, any other act of threat or coercion that includes any form of physical, sexual, verbal and emotional and economic abuse’.
Unarguably, the major reasons which are usually confronted by the concerned officials while dealing with such cases are dowry and female infanticide. Many such cases have resulted in the deaths of girl victims either through physical or mental torture.
Shockingly, a very recent survey conducted by an international NGO in Kashmir reports that 64% of its women respondents in Kashmir justify women beating.
The survey appallingly attributes the ignorance and fear among women in Kashmir as the major reasons of them being the “silent sufferers.”
A major development in this regard was brought forth by a consolidated study of Prof. Bashir Ahmad Dabla, Head of department University of Kashmir in the form of his book, “‘Domestic violence against women in the Kashmir valley”.Prof. Dabla has emphasized on the changing roles, behaviour of a Kashmiri woman with times as one of the reasons for aggravation in domestic violence acts.
Prof.Dabla argues that with education and awareness, came the restrain from the female faction against traditional roles assigned to them. Women who were traditionally thought to be adjusting or adaptable in nature often when retaliated or voiced their opinion were suppressed verbally as well as physically.
Dabla clearly sees the seeds of suppressive measures being sown in any Kashmiri family when the domestic roles are chalked out for a woman which always puts her in submissive mode.
Human Rights Activists, NGOs and many advocates in Kashmir have made a thrust upon the redressel of such aggrieving women problems only through the enactment of Domestic Violence Act in the wake of inability of existing laws to completely curb the atrocities meted out to women. Additionally, these laws finally leave the victim at the mercy of abuser.
Numbers collaborated from various surveys also indicate that while there has been an increase in the number of such cases which have been registered with the police, there has been no special redress mechanism which will help in quick disposal of such cases.
Asserts Mehjabeen Shah, a women activist, “The pre-conceived notion in our brains of living a compromised life leads us to face brutal consequences. Keeping the socio-cultural environment of our society in mind, this law with necessary amendments should be enforced immediately. There could also be an option of inserting such conditions in Nikahnama which comes to the rescue of women on the violation of such conditions.
The government has also been time and again apprised by various representative bodies of plunging into action for safeguarding the moral and fundamental rights of women, but the action has been missing on its front.
Informs Advocate, Zaheen Sheikh, “Pertinently, the domestic violence Act provides for the compensation and support to any domestic violence afflicted woman in the form of residence orders providing for shelter to guard woman from being homeless and some monetary relief.
The law is a civil law and opens up multiple doors of options for women who want to take its refuge. The Act is designed to end violence immediately in the form of protection orders or stop violence orders. Any breach in order carries with it an imprisonment of 1 year and affine of Rs. 20, 000 or both.”
“The Act has had a major success in the domestic violence depleted Andhra Pradesh state and there is no reason why we cannot have the same results here”, argues Mehjabeen
Ms. Sakina Itoo, Minister of Social Welfare though had promised the introduction of this act soon, but so far, the implementation remains far to be seen.