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Kashmir: A Wail of Atrocity

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Remembering the old and vibrant days of student politics in Kashmir University, Noor Ahmed Baba, professor of political science at the Central University of Kashmir, said the growing resentment in Kashmir is the reflection of the absence of any forum for discussion and debate. More than 60 Kashmiri students were injured after they clashed with the police and the paramilitary forces in April 2017.

Last year, Burhan Wani, commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, a militant organisation, was shot dead by the security forces. Soon after, there was an uprising of people, as around 50,000 people came to bid farewell to their militant leader in Tral, where ‘anti-India’ slogans were raised alongside people pledging their allegiance to azaadi.

There has been a spurt in the number of Kashmiri youth taking to militancy, from 66 in 2015, to around 88 in 2016, which forces us to ask what has gone wrong in Kashmir. Why have the people refuted the idea of a democracy? With an abysmally low voter turnout of 7.14% in the byelections held in Srinagar. Tareq Hameed Qarra resigned from the People’s Democratic Party in protest against the governing PDP-BJP coalition of curbing the dissent. He later joined the Congress and campaigned for Farooq Abdullah, leader of the National Conference, which is in alliance with Congress. Abdullah won the seat in Srinagar with a margin of more than 10,000 votes.

Tassaduq Mufti, the brother of chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, who was to represent PDP from Anantanag Seat, as his sister Mehbooba Mufti to become the CM of state vacate the seat, soon after the reports of 8 people been killed by paramilitary forces during a protest which emerged outside the Budgam poll booth, wrote an letter to Election Commission, to postpone the byelection, as the condition was not apt to conduct elections, to which Election commission at first postponed it to 25th May, but due to increasing protest has to delayed it indefinitely.


As reported by The Wire, around 1200 people were injured last year in the valley, because of the use of Pellet Guns from paramilitary forces. A pellet is a non-spherical projectile designed to be fired from an air gun. Air gun pellets differ from bullets and shot used in firearms because of the pressures encountered. Even the Inspector General of J&K Police has admitted that Pellets doesn’t follow the trajectory. Supreme court, in its recent order has said that Pellets would only be used in extreme cases. But, soon after the Judgement, as reported by Indian Express, Ministry of Home Affairs, have authorized 4,949 pellets to be deployed to the valley for CRPF Rapid Action Team, taking the whole number to 5,589. This number alongside with CRPF Director, K Durga Prasad’s statement of introducing the newly modified pellet guns with an accuracy of 90% in the valley, has created disturbances, as Jammu and Kashmir Pellet Victims Association, a recently formed organization, seeking justice for the death of around 100 people in the valley, has showed its resentment against the decision of Government, for replacing PAVA Shells again with Pellets. Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat, usually says that “Kashmir is the war zone and casualty do take place in war zone”, should take lessons from U.N Peace keeping forces which uses Condor rubber bullets, which is less lethal when compare with pellet guns.

Last year, Yashwant Sinha, along with a group of concerned citizens visit the valley, and tabled its report in which he resents the regressive methodologies employed by the central Government to curb the dissent in the valley, and has suggested a “Dialogue” to pacify the Kashmir conflict. This was also suggested by A C Dulat, a former RAW Chief and author of “Kashmir in Vajpayee Times”, in his report “Kashmir issue: Unrest and a pathway for peace”, where he argued that the regressive methodologies used by Armed Forces has disturbed the area further, and Mr Dulat, soon after Demonetization was launched with a rhetoric of curbing the Terrorism, said, “There is a connect between terror and counterfeit currency, but it’s exaggerated. Stopping the growth of indigenous militants is more important than the counterfeit currency issue”, but the current incumbent Government both in Kashmir and central seems not to hear, what the intellectuals, politicians, former intelligence officers are trying to pitchfork.


Recently, as per the World Press Freedom index, India stood at 136th rank out of 180 countries, this index is published by the organization of Reporters without Borders, which cited the growing Hindu Nationalism in the country, being the main reason for India’s lower rank. Last year, we saw that how, soon after post Burhan Wani’s death, when Kashmir Reader, a regional media organization, which was doing an exhaustive ground reporting in the valley, was labelled as “ant-national” and banned for three months. As per the Hoot, a watchdog of Media, around 31 times the internet was shut down in India last year. It clearly shows that how “Constitutional Liberalism”, is been suppressed in this country, which is in straight violation of Article 13(2) of the Indian Constitution.

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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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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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