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

With the strict lockdown in the Valley of Kashmir, there has been a sharp rise in the cases of domestic violence

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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