320.4 Gendered violence in Kashmir: A case study of half widows in Kashmir

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 1:03 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Arvinder ANSARI , Sociology, University, New Delhi, India

The armed conflict in Jammu and Kashmir has entered its 21st year. Years of strife took toll on the lives of women who became the soft targets in the conflict situation, they become victims of violence, which has made them widows, half,-widows and have been labeled as mothers of disappeared sons; wives of militants; women victims of physical abuse; women heads of households, etc.

These “Half – widows” of Kashmir lead a more miserable life than widows. They keep running from pillar to post to get some information about their husbands’As their husbands have not been declared dead, though missing, they are not entitled to the relief given to dependents of militancy victims.

Half widows face various economic, social and emotional insecurities. These various insecurities are compounded rather than addressed by the legal and administrative remedies currently available to half widows. Further, children of half widows are often particularly traumatized, showing extreme resentment and loneliness and are vulnerable to impoverishment and exploitation. While most half widows show immense strength and resilience acting as the sole breadwinners for their families and overcoming massive trauma, they continue to be deprived of the assistance and justice they deserve.

This Paper explores a women’s perspective in analyzing that how did violence shape women’s lived experience and responses and how did women forge survival strategies? Can we see structural changes leading to shift in gender roles? In a highly militarized and masculinised struggle is there the possibility of space for women’s agency for resistance and conflict transformation?

IN this paper narratives gathered from field have been used in conceptualizing theoretical frame work of discourses of the collective violence which is at the heart of the problems of gender discrimination in a war zone.