Women in Kashmir have played tremendous roles in Kashmir’s resistance movement. They have bore the fire of atrocities, been subjected to sexual violence, threatened and intimidated yet they have remained steadfast with their counterparts. In a territory like Kashmir, where conflict has devastated thousands of families, women suffer the most. Their contribution to the welfare of the society can’t be overlooked. The enormous sacrifices they have rendered to the struggle of their homeland is self-evident which none can ignore. From making houses to homes to lead movements, Women of Kashmir are second to no man.
Asiya Jeelani was a journalist and a human rights activist from Indian Administered Kashmir. She contributed to various non-government organisations and contributed to local newspapers.
Jeelani was helping a Kashmiri umbrella organization, Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of civil society on its election monitoring program. On 20 April, 2004, the cab ferrying Asiya Jeelani came under an IED blast in Lolab, Kupwor. The driver of the vehicle Ghulam Nabi Sheikh died instantly. Khurram Pervaiz received grievous injuries result of which , his leg had to be amputated. Two volunteers were also injured. Ms. Asiya Jeelani succumbed to her injuries hours later. After the incident, JKCCS called of its monitoring activities due to security issues.
Parveena’s son Javid Ahmad Ahanger was picked up by Indian Paramilitary forces in early 1990’s in IaK. After lodging a missing compliant in a local Police station , she was assured of investigation. Few days later , she was told that the Police was powerless. This forced parveena to protest outside the police station. Irked by her resentment, the then SSP of Police told her that Javid was in BB Cantonment hospital and even gave her a hosipital pass. Upon reaching there, she was shown a different person. Ahanger filed a case against Indian Army in Jammu and Kashmir High court in 1991. The investigation committee found that Army had taken her son but they did not know his whereabouts.
She filed another petition to Home ministry of India, the petition which remains pending till now. On her way to trace his son she visited Army camps, met local representatives and politicians but to no avail. In 1995, Parveena Ahanger founded Association of Parents of Disappeared persons with kiths and kins of those who had disappeared in Army custodies to mobilize support and pressure Indian Government to investigate into 8000-10000 enforced disappearances at the hands of Indian Armed forces.
Nobody understands a mother’s pain. I’m a victim, there are many like us. APDP originated out of my pain, and pain of hundreds of mothers like me.” Parveena Ahanger , University of Westminster, 2014
She was nominated for Nobel peace prize in 2005 and won rafto Prize for Human rights in 2017. She rejected the CNN-IBN award on the account of misrepresentation and misinformation approach
adopted by Indian media regarding Kashmir. She has represented APDP in Philippines (2000), Thailand (2003), Indonesia (2005), Chiang Mai (2006), Geneva (2008), Cambodia (2009) and London (2014).
Residing in a modest concrete house in Trehgam , Kupwor, Shahmali Begum is a woman who needs no credentials. She is the mother of revolutionary Maqbool Bhat. When Maqbool Bhat was hanged in Tihar Jail on 11 February 1984, She led the struggle to demand his mortal remains from the Indian state.
Octogenarian Shahmali lives a modest life in Trehgam and continues to live the legacy of Maqbool Bhat. The family has remained the pioneer of the freedom struggle in Kashmir. Shahmali has sacrificed her four sons for the freedom of Kashmir.
Today, when I walk through these streets, people say that my sons have made me proud. I want Azadi. It is the ultimate tribute for my sons.”
Shahmali Begum ,
In an interview with Greater Kashmir, an English daily from Indian Administered Kashmir, Feb 11, 2010.
Her son Manzoor Ahmad was martyred in 1998, Ghulam Nabi Bhat was part of JKLF and died in the 1990’s, Habibullah bhat joined the armed struggle in his 12th standard, later it was discovered that he had joined a Guerrilla group. The youngest being Zahoor Ahmad, also crossed over to LOC. he was arrested while addressing a rally on the anniversary of Maqbool Bhat. Shahmali has sacrificed her four sons for the Kashmir cause.