Women Bodies as Battlegrounds: Social Media Discourse And The Weaponization Of Rape In Kashmir

Women Bodies as Battlegrounds: Social Media Discourse And The Weaponization Of Rape In Kashmir

The unrest in Kashmir started close to 70 years ago. Going through intense years of violence, and has yet to cease. Kashmir is one of the most gradually police and militarize places. The conflict has left 70,000 dead and 8,000 as estimated. By local human rights group known as the Committee of Concerned Scientists. Over the years, the rape of Kashmiri women by Indian forces. However, It has become a method of collective punishment against the entire population.

Human Rights Watch has identified two main scenarios in which Kashmiri women are subservient to rape by Indian forces: during search and cordon operations for Kashmiri militants and reprisal attacks by Indian troops after military ambushes. Although Indian human rights groups and the international press have reported on the prevalent use of rape by Indian security forces in Kashmir, there are no reliable statistics on the exact number of rape and sexual assault cases.

The culture of impunity for Indian forces has not been abolish or even reduced since these rapes took place. Perpetrators find a safe haven in the Indian halls of power by way of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, colloquially known as AFSPA. However, The parliament of India passed AFSPA in 1958, to maintain public order in ‘disturbed’ areas.

According Human Rights

According to Human Rights Watch, AFSPA “allows any soldier or officer to fire upon groups of five or more people or anyone suspect of having a weapon, arrest anyone without a warrant, and conduct home invasions.” Given the draconian nature of the act, it has been describ as a breach of international human rights law by members of the international community. In 2012 the UN asked the Indian government to revoke AFSPA, which India has yet to do. The intersection of gender and conflict in Kashmir is a messy one, and cannot be discusse without including the legislation that sets the tone for the relationship between Kashmiri civilians and Indian forces.

The misogyny also spread online, with posts on social media networks carrying a similar theme. And according to reports, \”How to marry Kashmir women\” was increasingly Google after August 5. \”The way women of Kashmir are exoticise and materialise on a daily basis in India, the way their bodies are portray as vulnerable and use to create fear and intimidation, has heightened the judgment of being preyed upon,\” said Samreen, a 22-year-old make-up artist from Srinagar. \”We feel worried, even more than the men of the valley today.\” With communications lines shut off, Samreen was unable to contact her sister in New Delhi. She said, \”I wanted to reserve a ticket just to see if she is okay. We can\’t even do that\”.

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Kashmiri Women Rape

Kashmiri women are not only rape survivors. A large number of them also become half-widows as a consequence of large-scale violence in the region. “The existence of half widows is unique to Kashmir, referring to women whose husbands. It were picked up by the Indian armed forces, never to return. As such, they left in a unique status where they are neither widows. Nor can they marry again given social and religious obligations. Such women also face complications in their relationship with in-laws and are often left to fend for themselves. These are the consequences of violence that rarely talked about,” Essar stressed.

The conflict and the Indian army’s continuous harassment have a far-reaching effect for Kashmiri women which has trickled down to other spheres of their lives. “In Kashmir, women face two levels of oppression, one is the patriarchal society and another is a patriarchal occupation. The losses, the oppression affects us physically, mentally with access to public places being limite. Our movements, our thoughts are occupie, so naturally. We are incline to think differently from women who don\’t live under occupation,” .

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World of Silent People

By speaking clearly about an unrecompensed desire for marriage on social media. Although, the message is clear: Kashmiri women are no longer an unattainable marital conquest for civilian Indian men. Military organisation or not, Kashmir is within reach, due to the strong relationship between militarization. And a right-wing political agenda that has reached its finale point. In essence, both Indians and the international community cannot simulate surprise. When the bodies of women bear the brunt of occupation. The weaponization of rape begins at how a society reports, or tweets, about its most vulnerable.

Social media Discourse #SexualViolenceInIOK


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