Srinagar, Oct 3: Amid rising cases of crime against women, the plight of non-local women goes unnoticed who have been brought to Kashmir by false promises and have been forced to marry men double their age.
As per the latest report of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) accessed by news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service 4,05,861 cases of crime against women were registered in 2019. The number is a 7.3% increase over last year’s where the number of registered cases were 3,78,236.
As per the report, 30.9% of the crimes against women were labelled under ‘Cruelty by Husbands or his relatives.’ This implies that 30.9% of all the crimes last year against women were perpetrated by people who were close to the victim.
While 21.8% of these crimes were registered under ‘Assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty.’
There is a cry against rising crime against women in India with people taking to the streets seeking action against the perpetrators.
At the same time, there is hardly anyone paying attention towards the sufferings of non-local women in Kashmir.
Sakeena Bano, a resident of West Bengal’s Murshidabad was 18 when an agent told her parents she would be married with a young Kashmiri and in a well-off family. But once brought to Kashmir, she was forced to marry a Srinagar man who was 45-years-old.
“I married this man three years ago. I was new to this place and totally a stranger. Whatever I was told, I accepted. I came to know that the person whom I am married to did not find a local bride as he has some mental illness,” she said. She did not want to mention the proper place where she has married.
Rukhsana Jan, a resident of Sapual district of Bihar married an old man two years before.
“I was told this person is a businessman and will keep me happy. When I arrived in Kashmir I was shocked. They told me that I have to marry a man who seemed then 40,” she said, who is now 21. She lives in South Kashmir.
She also helps her husband in carpet weaving besides manages her household chores and takes care of her five-year-old son. “We have to bear the brunt but nobody talks about us. Entire media is these days talking about crime against women but nobody is concerned about us. World has ignored our sufferings,” she added.
These non-local girls are pushed into these marriages because of poverty, trafficked by the agents in many cases because they are lured by false promises.
Marrying non-local girls by old or disabled people is prevalent in Kashmir.
An agent, who wished not to be named, said most of the non-local girls who are being brought to Kashmir are from impoverished Muslim families of states like Westbengal, Bihar and Uttarpradesh.
“There is a network of people who are associated with this trade. We have people in various states by whom we get these non-local girls. We get these girls with the consent of their families who are struggling to get two times meals. Their families get a good amount of money only then they allow their girls to come to Kashmir,” the agent said.
A senior official of J&K police give varied reasons why human trafficking cases are not getting reported.
“In Kashmir forced marriages take place because the practise has social acceptance. Nobody is complaining about these marriages as family of a girl is getting handsome money and they are being brought to Kashmir with their concurrence,” the official said.