MPs Reach Out To Kashmiri Women12 March 2011
Srinagar: Moved by the plight of Kashmiri-women, four Indian women parliament members Saturday pledged to work for the socio-economic development of Kashmiri women and demanded setting up an independent commission to punish the guilty troopers. The four women MPs, three from Congress and another from CPI (M), had an exclusive chat with Rising Kashmir on the sidelines of the event at SKICC on the banks of Dal Lake.Shruti Choudhary, a Congress Lok Sabha MP from Bhiwani-Mahendragrah, said she was shocked to see the plight of Kashmiri women. “I have been to Kashmir many a times but this time I am here officially. Kashmiri women have gone through hell, devastation and what not.” She said they will brief the party high command and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the plight of Kashmiri women. “Kashmiri women need a helping hand and we will do our best to provide them all possible help. We will suggest concrete measures to party high command and PM to resolve their problems,” she said. Mebel Rebello, MP Rajya Sabha said she has been visiting Kashmir and feels Kashmiri women need a human touch. “They are far behind from their counterparts in other States of India. There is a need of their socio-economic development.” She said they recognize the political angle, i.e., conflict side. “We favour the permanent solution to conflict. However, at the same time we feel some measures should be taken for women empowerment in Kashmir,” said Rebello, who represents Jharkand constituency. “We feel there is a need to build a permanent relationship between Kashmiri women and GoI. This is where we can play a role,” she said adding she would apprise the Congress high command about plight of Kashmiri women and seek remedial measures. Stating that they want to see JK at par with other Indian states in terms of peace and development, the MP said, “Kashmir is a beautiful place and women should feel free to enjoy its beauty and peace”. Another Rajya Sabha Congress MP Viplaw Thakur said they gave a patient hearing to the Kashmir women participants. “We will convey everything to our party high command,” she said. CPI (M) Rajya Sabha MP Brinda Karat said she met many families, whose dear ones were killed in summer unrest last year. “We also met some families, whose loved ones have disappeared. I came to the conclusion that justice has not reached them so far,” she said. She said 112 youth were not carrying weapons in their hands during summer unrest last year and still faced the bullets. “There has to be justice and the perpetrators have to be brought to book. Women in Kashmir are caught between forces and separatists. There has to be beginning of justice,” she said. 'We cannot talk about peace without delivering justice. The Government should set up an independent and impartial commission to bring the guilty personnel - be it from the Army, paramilitary or police - to book,' Karat said. She said punishing the erring personnel will create an atmosphere of reconciliation, which can act as the foundation for the dialogue process for political resolution of the Kashmir issue. On Kashmir issue, Karat she said dialogue was the only way to resolve the vexed issue. “The eight-point package announced by GoI following the visit of the All Party Delegation to Kashmir last year has not been implemented on ground”. Meanwhile, the local participants were partially satisfied by the event. MLA Habba Kadal Shameema Firdous and chairperson State Womens’ Commission said she told the Indian parliament members and interlocutors that womenfolk have borne the maximum brunt of 20 years conflict. “They were harassed and even raped by the forces. Many women were even brutally harassed. Women in Kashmir are feeling insecure given the situation they faced and need a healing touch.” Stressing on the need of political solution, she said, “I told the participants that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has made it clear that there is a need of resolving Kashmir politically”. Narjees Nawab, an advocate by profession, said she was not happy with the conference. “It (conference) was minus-victim families. The women, whose loved one were either killed or are missing were not invited in the conference. The conference more or less focused on the impact of conflict. I demanded that culprits’ right from Kunanposhpora to Shopian should be brought to book,” she said. She praised the interlocutors for organising such a conference. “However, women plight needs to be highlighted in much broader perspective,” she said. One of interlocutor Radha Kumar, an academician, said the conference was to gauge the mood of women in the strife-torn State. “I think their (women) participation in any decision is must. We haven’t been able to get them on board. Today’s conference is just a beginning. I even don’t know the outcome of this conference as yet but I am sure it will raise the confidence of women to speak at bigger platforms,” she said. At least 38 women including four MPs, one woman interlocutor participated in the conference. Two male interlocutors, Dilip Padgaonkar and the M M Ansari were also present. Others who were present on the occasion include PDP leader Asiya Naqash, ANC leader, Jahan Ara, AICURD (NGO) representative, Rabiyaji, Nighat Shafi of Help Foundation, Nahid Soz, Managing Director Women’s Development Corporation, Prof. Syeda Afshana, Journalist Afsana Rashid, Principal SSM college, Dil Afroze, Indu Kumar, Secteray General Sabzaar, Hafeeza Muzafar, secretary SWC, Prof. Posh Charak, Ellora Puri, Laxmi dutta, Prof Indu Kilam, Tasnim Akhter, Lawyer, Seema Khajuria, few women from Jammu and a couple of victim families. The Interlocutors delayed submission of their report to GoI to take on board the views of the women in the State.