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The Clash Between Hindutva And Islamic Fundamentalism Is Killing The Kashmir Valley

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Jammu and Kashmir, since independence is one such state which carries constantly a painful saga of ups and downs despite having a democratically elected government since seven decades. It can easily be put in league with conflict regions like Syria, Palestine where freedom and human rights don’t matter at all.

Every government formed at the centre blatantly failed to gain the trust of people in Kashmir but the present government led by BJP has pushed the valley to margins where its people have been left hanging between a religious fundamentalist government and Islamic fundamentalist forces.

In many ways, the legacy of dissatisfaction and alienation had deepened. They are as follows:

The situation in Kashmir represents one of the biggest failures of Modi led BJP-RSS government. The critical issue is that the Modi Government has approached the issues of Kashmir from the single point of security instead of approaching it is as a political issue which requires dialogue with all sections of the people. The foremost agenda of BJP remains abrogation of the originally intended provision of Article 370 which provides regulatory autonomy to three regions namely – Jammu, the Kashmir valley and Ladakh, which is a blunder in itself.

Hindutva Fundamentalism Vs Islamic Fundamentalism

Ever since the Narendra Modi government assumed power, the propaganda of “Nationalistic Jingoism” has been touching the sky. During three years of Modi rule, there was been an increase of 42% deaths in the valley which includes militants, security personals and civilians. The number of security personnel killed in terrorist violence in the state has increased 72%–from 111 in the last three years of UPA-II to 191 in the BJP’s first three years. The number of civilian deaths in J&K has also increased by 37%, while terrorist deaths have risen 32%. This is the net result of “Zero Tolerance” policy on terrorism according to the manifesto of the BJP, but why this rise in death?

The government at the center aims to impose its one leader-one culture-one nation formula on J&K via the state government in which BJP enjoys power with PDP. Both state and central government have been taking a stand blaming Pakistan for massive civil unrest which remains the simplest option to opt. Pakistan is definitely involved in activities leading to terrorism such as violation of ceasefire, infiltration along the LoC, whereas on the other hand, stone pelting on security personals, burning of schools are witnessed during civil protests. Under this very government, Indian Army reported that homegrown militants have outnumbered foreign militants i.e., presence 400 active militants out of which 250 are from the Indian side while rest come from Pakistan which clearly indicates that the youth in Kashmir have lost hope in the democratic process of the state.

This has left India devoid of a chance to solely blame Pakistan for violence. The battle of perception between India and Pakistan at the global level has tarnished India’s image by unleashing Hindu majoritarian politics against the Kashmiris which feeds the purpose of Islamic fundamentalist forces. This indirectly leads to severe loss of lives, unrest among civilians, and more importantly, anger among youth.

The recent rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua proves how desperate efforts by Hindutva elements are being made to hyphenate and disturb communal harmony which still exists among different sections of people. A group called Hindu Ekta Manch took out a rally with the tricolour to defend the Kathua rape accused. Leaders from the BJP who were also ministers of J&K government took part in this rally. This whole plan to rape a minor girl was aimed to make Bakherwal nomads move out of the area in fear. This remains the new technique to ensure there is no peace among Kashmiris. Modi government, PDP-BJP govt and rabidly intolerant fascist forces are at the centre to worsen the Kashmir dispute.

Source: IndiaSpend

Mass Deflection Of Youth Towards Militancy

70% of the 12 million populations of Jammu & Kashmir is under the age of 31. But one among the threatening cause of deflection of Kashmiri youth towards militancy remains, unemployment. In a recent survey, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) in collaboration with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) found that Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has the highest unemployment rate of 12.93%. As per the Economic Survey Report of J&K, the unemployment rate in the state is 24.6%. However, in the age-group of 18 to 29 years, the unemployment rate is 13.2%. This is one of the worse results of unresolved conflict in the valley.

In a recent report by The Hindu, journalist Suhasini Haider writes, “The studies found that only 2% of the militants had ever studied at a madrassa or religious school, and amongst the largest militant group Hizbul Mujahideen, which is considered a “local Kashmiri group” as opposed to Pakistan-based Lashkar e Toiba and Jaish e Mohammad, as much as 64% of the recruits had not indicated strong religious inclinations before becoming militants. Only 3% of those surveyed through interrogations or questions put to their friends and families had identified themselves as “Salafist” or “Wahabi” the more radical ideologies followed by pan-Islamic terror groups like Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.”

Source: The Hindu
Source: The Hindu

This report gives a clear message to all of us – the conventional trend of radicalisation of youth towards militant, terrorist organizations at the world level is exactly the opposite among youth of the valley. Instead of ideological influence from religious fundamentalism and mind wash, neighbourhood interaction, social intermingling are the topmost reason among mass deflection of youth lead by fanatic attraction towards killed militants like Burhan Wani and Rauf Khanday.

A fresh example is from the month of May 2018 when a University teacher, Mohammad Rafi Bhat turned into a militant and died in a gunfight with security forces. This has left his family, friends and students state of shock.

The whole society is at a grave loss, families have not been able to reason with their own children and have been losing them to militancy. They see injustice and violence all the time, they have grown up in bloodshed and suppression. Nowadays, they have all the means and method to keep pace with what is happening and why. Nothing can be hidden from them, they draw their own conclusions and suddenly they react by leaving their families and join militant groups.

The manner in which civil protests in Kashmir are being labelled only as “Pakistan-oriented Action” is a wrong conclusion. This unrest has much more to do with state’s inaction towards overall development, participation of youth in different fields like business, government job, sports, tourism and culture. Over exaggeration to incite nationalist feelings are deepening the wound named Kashmir on which government of India is rubbing salt for four years. Even a veteran journalist of The Telegraph, Sankarshan Thakur is not allowed to interview a free leader of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. An oral order dictates freedom in Kashmir.

To be powerful, a nation needs food, clothes, shelter, potable water, education, healthcare and employment. Weapons cannot be an alternative to that. A nation where the majority of the people die a systematic terrible death, cannot have a solution through the barrels of guns and bombs. As India enjoys a rich legacy of the syncretic, multi-diverse heritage, the solution of Kashmir’s crisis definitely lies in hands of its people, the government they elect but also it lies in the words of Octavio Paz when he wrote a book named, In Light Of India- “Of course, it is impossible to foresee the future turn of events. In politics and history, perhaps in everything, that unknown power the ancients called fate is always at work. Without forgetting this, I must add that, in politics as well as in private life, the surest method for resolving conflicts, however slowly, is dialogue.”


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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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