‘Delhi groups don’t represent our women’

A leading women’s group in Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday lashed out at New Delhi-based groups, particularly the Center for Policy Analysis. In a statement issued here, the Muslim Khawateen Markaz, sharply rebuked the attempts “in place since February 201I to hijack the dominant voice of Kashmiri women by various Indian NGOs especially New Delhi based Center for Policy Analysis.”


“We have been compelled to discuss amongst ourselves whether the said organization or any other organizations with a clear political agenda have a right to represent us,” the Markaz, headed by Anjum Zamrud Hamid, said.

The Kashmir women group held a meeting today where it discussed “the issues and concerns that the politics of CPA poses to the women of Kashmir”.

“On February 11, 2011, Seema Mustafa held a CPA seminar in Delhi wherein many sub groups worked to address various problems dealing with women’s issues. One of the most important sub-groups at this seminar dealt with the ‘Problems of Women in Kashmir. Kashmiri women were included in a rather half-hearted manner, and it became apparent rather quickly that CPA was being intellectually dishonest in the manner in which the entire problem of Kashmir and Kashmiri women was being presented and the frame in which they had been cubby-holed,” the Markaz said.

According to the women group, during the Delhi seminar, ‘there was no mention of any historical context, political roots of the conflict and no suggestion of a political resolution of the Kashmir conflict was entertained’. “The organizers absolutely declined to accept that resolution of the political problem of Kashmir should be seen as the root cause of all the problems that women in Kashmir were facing. They seemed to have decided that their starting point was going to be the present status of the women, irrespective of what brought that condition on in the first place or what perpetuate it. Consequently the possibility that a political settlement of the Kashmir issue could be suggested to the government as a measure most suitable for the betterment of the condition of the Kashmiri women was not entertained. Thus exercising the ‘Right to Self Determination or Plebiscite’ as measures that could improve the lot of Kashmiri women were vehemently opposed by all the organizers of CPA.”

After their first meeting, the MKM said, “there was a considerable decline in the participation of Kashmiri women, as low as just one woman attending their next meeting and meetings to come”. “They attempted to meet the Prime minister of India who did not even show any interest in their proposal despite them trying their best to not hurt the occupational constitutional framework of India in Kashmir,” it said.

Through the MKM’s parallel meeting that coincided with of CPA’s yet another meeting in Srinagar, the women’s group “wishes to bring the politics of CPA, “which in reality is nothing but damage control for India through appropriation of Women’s issues in Kashmir wherein the Kashmiri woman needs to be rescued from the Kashmiri Muslim man and the de-linking (and thus de-politicizing) of the issue of women’s rights in Kashmir from the larger question of the Kashmir political problem and therefore further breaking the back of woman’s resistance and demand of Azadi.”

“The Issue of women’s rights in Kashmir does not appear outside the issue of the larger political crises of the state.  Human Rights violations at the hands of Indian army are often the result of resistance that Kashmiri women have shown to the Indian Rule time and time again. To call it ‘women fighting for better governance’ is an act of lying through the teeth that intellectual members of the organization are engaged in,” the MKM said.

“As much Nationalism has been criticized for not allowing equal partnership for women, Indian women themselves have gone through the process of nation building and it gives them no right to deny it to the women of Kashmir. We resist all methods and back channel policies that tend to depoliticize us from the central important question of Kashmir’s right to self-determination,” the group added.

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