Women Forced to Quit Jobs and Marry Early in Kashmir and Jammu India
Muslim women in Jammu and Kashmir, India are required to quit government jobs by January 25, or face death for disobeying the orders issued by a pro-Pakistani militant group, reports the Press Trust of India. Posters created by Harkat-ul-Jehadi-Islamia (HUJI) were pasted on the main walls of the Shahdara Sharief mosque in the district of Rajouri demanding women to quit their government posts. The posters also stated that girls who have reached the age of 15 must marry immediately. The Press Trust of India warned that women and girls should take baths at home and stay in their homes at all times. If they venture outside, “they should be veiled.”
According to The Hindu, the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) has condemned the orders to quit their government jobs. According to NFIW general secretary Sehba Farooqui, “a vicious and violent campaign has been launched by right-wing and fundamentalist militant groups to deprive women of their hard won rights, their freedom and their dignity.” The NFIW urged the people of Jammu and Kashmir to resist the restrictions and asked the government to help women live without fear and with dignity.
In December, three women were killed in Indian-controlled Kashmir by Islamic militants for not wearing burqas. Two sisters, aged 18 and 21, were shot dead in their house by unidentified gunmen while a third woman, 22, was kidnapped from her home and beheaded. Her body was found in the jungles. The violent killings took place just days after handwritten flyers appeared warning women to follow an Islamic dress code or face consequences. Police suspected a small local group, Lashka Jabbar, to be responsible for the attacks.
Over a dozen Islamic rebel groups have been fighting for the independence of Kashmir from Indian rule. India accuses Pakistan of arming and sending Islamic militants to Kashmir, while Pakistan denies any “direct involvement” with the militants, according to Reuters. The 13-year-old uprising has claimed more than 37,000 lives, according to UPI.
Media Resources: Press Trust of India 01/20/03; The Hindu 01/21/03, Feminist News Wire 12/20/2002