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Will India Prevent Another ‘Uri Like Attack’?

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It was 3 am in the morning and I had many questions on my mind. Of all the questions, I paid particular attention to one. Will India prevent terror attacks from taking place in the immediate days to come? The surgical strikes the Indian army had conducted across the LoC were a timely response by India, which were not only seen as avenging the Uri attack but also as a bold move against terror attacks in general. I couldn’t agree more with the Indian army’s decision to conduct surgical strikes in PoK. Yet, what scared me was the aftermath. What is the point in attempting to safeguard the spirit of territorial integrity and national security like this, if it doesn’t prevent infiltration in Kashmir?

According to the Indian Express, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz said in the Parliament that Pakistan is fully capable of defending its border and will not accept any “Indian influence or hegemony” under any circumstance. He said to the Parliament, “We are ready for dialogue with India on the condition that Kashmir dispute is also included in it.”

He said, “Pakistan will continue to support the Kashmiris right to self-determination which is totally indigenous and led by the Kashmiri youth.” He further added, “We would continue extending political, diplomatic and moral support to them (Kashmiris) on international and bilateral forums.”

India and International Terrorism

Addressing the menace of global terrorism and its activities is of paramount importance for the international community. Along with globalisation, international terrorism has gained considerable momentum in spreading its tentacles. It has ushered in a new type of threat that is more sudden, covert, and more deadly than conventional war. “International terrorism has created a new type of security threat which is more covert, sudden, undeclared, and more dangerous than the conventional warfare,” writes Vinay Malhotra in his book ‘International Relations – 3rd revised edition’.

This new threat is aimed at cities, busy business centres and markets, government offices and buildings, political leaders, bureaucrats, and civilian population in addition to police and military personnel. No one can predict possible scenario of a terrorist attack,” observes Malhotra.

Terrorism is often adopted by a weaker nation as an instrument of state policy – to resort to proxy war, surrogate warfare, low-intensity aggression and much more. Pakistan has been alleged of having resorted to terrorism as a state policy to intimidate and to disturb India’s security, especially in Kashmir. The governments in Pakistan, Libya, and Afghanistan in the past have resorted to state-aided terrorism. Such nations vouch for terrorism by funding raw materials, capital, passports, sanctuaries, arms, and other facilities to weaken other states. The Indian government passed the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 to counter the menace of terrorism.

Of late, India has increased its defence budget. It is furthermore strenuous for India to curb terrorism in the country since many organisations, stakeholders, and terror sympathisers are funding such activities. To curb terrorism completely, India must uproot the various organisations which have been funding terror groups while maintaining stricter border patrol and deploying more forces with modern equipment and weapons.

Troubled Days Ahead Or Good riddance – You Decide

Despite the troubled days and the unfortunate loss of lives, demonetisation, in some form, was essential for India to address the dent in Kashmir – and also essential for India to limit terror activities, not only to curb black money hoardings.

It may not decrease the intensity of Indo-Pak tension, but it may very well put limitations on funding terror organisations. It may deter the activities of terrorists at the LoC from troubling Kashmir. And this deterrence is the chief element of India’s anti-terror drive in the subcontinent. In the recent times, the J&K High Court had taken suo moto cognizance when unidentified agents set ablaze at least 27 schools in the valley during the unrest.

Owing to the insecurities prompted by Pakistan and China, India’s appetite for defence spending has not reduced. Meanwhile, Pakistan and China, both nuclear powers, have been obtaining raw materials and finished products in both the economy and defence arena for their aspirations to prevail.

The surgical strikes in September following the Uri attack and demonetisation are worth mentioning.

Internal aggression – A Challenge For The Modi-Led Government

The Modi government should very well detect the schemes of Pakistan and terror organisations in the Kashmir valley if it wants to prevent the resurgence of another Burhan Wani. A 21-year-old commander of Hizbul Mujahideen who was killed a few months back appears to be a great success for the terrorists in undermining harmony in the Kashmir valley. That is exactly what they had wanted. Burhan Wani was the brainchild which had been developed by the Hizbul Mujahideen to create mayhem in Kashmir.

The issue in Kashmir cannot be resolved with Doval’s doctrine alone. It’s difficult to get the work done under the advice of the Sangh Parivar. India should handle Kashmir with extra caution. The Kashmiri youth which musters the courage to pelt stones at armed personnel, might not hesitate in using arms if they are provided with it. It will result in the geopolitical supremacy of Pakistan if the integrity and security of Kashmir are thwarted. Secondly, India should carefully prevent violence over the ‘holy cow syndrome’ in order to prevent communal tension within the country. Playing communal cards in politics and throwing incendiary remarks against the Muslim community and treating Kashmir with force wouldn’t prevent unrest in the Kashmir valley.

PM Modi can recover Kashmir during the adversities by strengthening the border security with destructive measures. Otherwise, it could result in hundreds of Burhan Wani in the tension inflicted valley and it could also spread across the country. PM Modi, at his hardest best, should prevent terrorists from mining on India’s soil to make India peaceful again.

Whether or not India earned international sympathy over the Uri attack, India must harden its ground relatively in the LoC and PoK.

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Image Source: Hindustan Times/ Getty Images

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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