Leaders of Indian women’s organisations who visited occupied Kashmir earlier this month revealed that 13000 Kashmiri youth have been taken by security forces during the recent lockdown of the valley by Indian forces.

The group released a fact-finding report, detailing appalling conditions in the Muslim-majority valley.

The five women leaders including Dr Syeda Hameed of the Muslim Women’s Forum, Pragatisheel Mahila Samiti’s Poonam Kaushik, and Annie Raja, Kawaljeet Kaur, and Pankhuri Zaheer from the National Federation of Indian Women’s (NFIW) visited occupied Kashmir from September 17-21, 2019.

Speaking at the Delhi Press Club, the five brave women shared their experiences and observations with the media and concerned citizens after visiting Kashmir under lockdown for the past 51 days.

They say that they covered 17 villages and 13 areas to asses diverse regions, speak to different authorities and engage with all kinds of agencies working on the ground.

“We interacted with all sections of people over there and visited different institutions and we saw what’s

actually happening with the people of Kashmir,” Annie Raja said.

Srinagar, Bandipore, Shopian and Pulwama districts were among those the team went to.

“When we reached there, it was like walking into a cloud of depression,” Dr Syeda Hameed and Annie Raja explained, terming their findings an eyewitness account.

“By many verified accounts, we are talking about almost 13,000 young people having disappeared in the past 51 days,” they said.

Pankhuri Zaheed, from the National Federation of Indian Women spoke about how lack of communication has affected the valley. “The blackout means that when a woman delivers her child in a hospital then in case of

complications, her husband cannot call his family for help. It means thatwhen your child is picked up by the army or the police, the family will not get the news. It means that in case of fire and a shop burns down,

the owner will not get to know about it until they go and see it for themselves. This has serious implications for the common people of Kashmir.”

Moreover, in occupied Kashmir, Hurriyat activists have circulated handbills and posters reaffirming pledge that they will not let Hindutva forces to succeed in their design to make slave Kashmiri people.

The handbills pasted on electric poles, shop shutters and walls ask people to get united for their honour and identity leaving all small differences aside. “Let’s defend ourselves and fight back against the

aggression of Indian coward strategy.”

“All women to protect each other and we will not let the evil to come near you, our respect. We have neither accepted Indian occupation earlier nor will we accept now. India! listen, We will not accept any

laws extended to our territory nor will we act on your direction,” say the contents of one of the handbills.

“This is our motherland, our State and we will not accept any UT type status at all. It is an occupied land and its future will be decided by its people.”

Some of the handbills have appealed to “all brothers and sisters of Kashmir to get united and don’t come under any pressure.”

“India is trying to give incentives as cost of slavery. So don’t accept valueless things which will make the whole nation a slave to Hindutva forever. We will not live forever, our coming generations will not be

saved if today we will get cost of our freedom.”