Aya Batrawy in Srinagar

From Aljazeera English: “Kashmiri Women United by Loss

“Parvina (A)Hangar’s son was just 16 years old when she says he was abducted by Indian forces. That was almost 20 years ago, and Hangar, a simple woman with an elementary school education, did not know what to do or who to turn to. The pain of losing her son left her unable to get out of bed for months.”…

“Speaking in Kashmiri, Hangar explains: “The pain of separation is what keeps me going. Until my son returns home, I will not sit idle. I will not give up. I will continue to fight.”…

“We will continue our fight until we get our freedom. If we do not get it, we will transfer our movement to our next generation.”…

“As in most conflict zones, Kashmiri women have been subjected to violence. According to a study by Medecins Sans Frontieres, Kashmiri women suffer some of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world.”…

“The women here express a sense of determination that Kashmir’s sacrifices should not be in vain.”…

“That is especially true for Zarmooda Habib, a founding member of the United Hurriyat Conference, the leading separatist movement. Habib has spent the last 16 days in hiding, returning home for less than a day to check on her ailing mother.”

“Married only to the cause and having spent the last six years in a New Delhi prison, Habib says she will never give up on the cause of an independent Kashmir.”…

She asks: “If we will not have freedom, then what are we doing?”

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