Three women were killed in Indian-controlled Kashmir by Islamic militants for not wearing burqas, United Press International reports. Two sisters, aged 18 and 21, were shot dead in their house by unidentified gunmen while a third woman, 22, was kidnapped from her house and beheaded. Her body was found in the jungles. “There is a possibility these killings are linked with the … dress code. We have sent a police party,” an official told Reuters.
The violent killings took place just days after handwritten flyers appeared warning women to follow an Islamic dress code or face consequences. Police suspect a small local group, Lashka Jabbar, to be responsible for the attacks. Last year they sprayed two women in Kashmir’s main city, Srinagar, for going against its dress code. The group threatened to shoot Muslim women if they disobeyed, demanded that women from the Hindu minority community wear the traditional red colored dot on their foreheads, and ordered women in the Sikh community to cover their heads with a saffron-colored cloth, Reuters reports.
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: Reuters 12/20/02; United Press International 12/20/02
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .