Times of Kashmir

| 18 Sep 2019

Left in lurch, PaK brides decide to cross LoC, along with children

‘We have been divorced, our stay illegal here, GoI giving deaf ears to our demands’

Srinagar, April 13 (KNO) : Facing tremendous hardships ever since they returned from Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK), they landed in problems and slowly their life turned out into a living hell.

Frustrated by the enormous problems confronting them what has added salt to their wounds is scores of PaK brides have been divorced and they are living illegally in their former husbands’ houses forcing them to take a decision of crossing the LoC along with their children.

“I never knew that our life will turn into a hell. We will cross the line along with our children,” said Posha who have three children, all of whom were born in Muzafaràbad after she married to a Kashmiri local from Tangdhar in 2008.

According to KNO, many like Posha’s husband made a life there in PaK. They left the training camps, found jobs or started their own businesses, married local women, and raised children.

Around 500 of these men returned to Kashmir with their families after the Jammu and Kashmir government declared an amnesty scheme in 2010 in its rehabilitation policy for Kashmiris who had crossed into PaK between 1989 and 2009. What awaited them at home, however, was nothing they expected.

Many of them were booked and jailed for illegally entering India from Nepal instead of the routes the government had approved for their return. The returnees said these routes were blocked, because Pakistani security agencies and militant groups were against the rehabilitation policy. But, the government refused to accept the explanation or extend any help.

Despite trying hard for years, these returnees have failed to start a new life in Kashmir. Banks do not lend to them, the government does not employ them, and the private sector does not need them. It is almost impossible for their children to get admission in schools and colleges because the government has refused to provide them state subject certificates and passports.

The worst sufferers of this debacle, however, are the women. Cut off from their families when their husbands left PaK, they have been struggling with poverty and low social acceptability.

Some of these women have been seeking psychiatric help to deal with depression and stress disorders. “Enough is enough. We are going to cross the LoC noe along with our children,” said Zeba of Bandipora. Saira Khan another victim set herself ablaze and ended her life.

Saira belonged to a middle-class family in PaK, and she came to Kashmir with her husband, Abdul Majeed Lone, in 2012. Lone crossed into PaK in 1995 and married Saira in 2004.

Many returnees fear that anxiety could push their wives to take the extreme decision like Saira did. That is why Zarif Ahmed decided his wife, Uzma, needed to see a doctor. The doctor referred her to a psychiatrist in Srinagar. The psychiatrist said she might have felt caged in Kashmir and a change of environment would help her recover. Uzma’s family had shifted to Karachi from PaK in 1998.

Zarif and Uzma had lived there after marriage. “In Karachi, we lived in our own flat and our children went to private schools,” she said. They came back to India in 2011. “Here we cannot even pay their fees on time.” Last year when their elder daughter got admission in a private college, Zarif’s brother paid the fee for the first semester.

“This is not the life we had imagined in Kashmir,” said Uzma. These women are disturbed by the uncertainty in life and the state government’s indecision over defining their status. “We are treated neither as Kashmiris nor as Pakistanis,” said Uzma.(KNO)

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