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Women Victims of Harassment: A Study of Half-Widows in Kashmir

Social Work Chronicle

Volume 7 Issue 1

Published: 2018
Author(s) Name: Sumeera Nazir, Shazia Manzoor | Author(s) Affiliation: Ph.D Research Scholar, Dept. of Social Work, Univ. of Kashmir, Jammu & Kashmir, India.
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Abstract

Since the beginning of the armed insurgency in Kashmir, thousands of people have been subjected to enforced disappearances. According to official reports of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) a non-governmental organisation (NGO) formed by the parents of disappeared persons in Kashmir, there is an estimate of around 8000 to 10,000 cases of disappearances. Whatever be the reason and nature of the disappearance, the phenomena of enforced disappearances leads to two kinds of victims, first the individuals themselves and second their families. As the disappeared people are largely men in Kashmir, they have left behind the families that mostly comprise of their wives. The wives of such disappeared men locally known as Half-Widows are the worst sufferers. ‘Half-Widow represents the starkest outcome of the on-going armed conflict in Kashmir for last 25 years in the region. The paper in the cultural contrast of the region endeavors to make an analysis of the social, legal, sexual, and psychological harassment faced by the half-widows through the state, nonstate actors, society and their own family members. The study is based on in-depth interviews carried out with Half-Widows of district Baramulla of Jammu and Kashmir state. Drawing upon the personal accounts of these women, it focuses on their experience of loss, the ostracism and stigma faced by them, and their struggle for survival and justice.

Keywords: Enforced Disappearance, Half-Widows, Women Victims of Armed Conflict, Harassment

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