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Crimes against women

Kashmir is seeing a tremendous rise in cases of crimes against women. In the last few days, a heart wrenching video of a woman with 90% burn injuries speaking of the horrific incident wherein she was allegedly set on fire by her in-laws in Mattan township of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. Even though the video was graphic showing the gruesome burn injuries the woman had suffered, it was widely shared on social media with people demanding stringent punishment for the family. This is not an isolated incident though it did bring back the focus on the ever-increasing number of crimes against women in Kashmir. Official reports highlight the grim state of women affairs in a place where the J&K Women’s Commission is headless and hardly any particular government body is specifically looking at such cases.  Last year, National Family Health Survey (NFHS) revealed in a report that more than nine percent of women between 18 and 49 years of age experienced domestic violence in Jammu and Kashmir. The report revealed some shocking facts about the domestic abuse of women in J&K. As per the survey, a total of 9.6 percent of the women between 18 and 49 years of age were subjected to domestic violence in J&K during 2019-20. Five years ago, 9.4 percent of women were victims of domestic violence in J&K. Interestingly Jammu and Kashmir was then a state with Ladakh one of its divisions. The survey found the domestic abuse was more rampant in rural areas than urban localities. Around 11.0 percent of rural women between 18 and 49 years of age witnessed domestic violence. In urban areas, 5.9 percent of women were victims of domestic violence. Shockingly, 1.2 percent of women have witnessed physical violence during the time of pregnancy.  The survey also highlighted that there has been a rise in sexual violence of the young women in J&K last year. Against 3.1 percent in 2015-16, 4.0 percent of young women between 18 and 29 of age have experienced sexual violence in J&K last year. Gender-based violence has been on the rise in the country.  Of the total 4.05 lakh crimes against women, nearly 1.26 lakh (over 30%) are related to domestic violence. In another report, the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) revealed that nearly half of the cases recorded in 2019 were awaiting investigation. Jammu and Kashmir then witnessed as many as 3069 cases of crime against women including rapes, molestation, and domestic violence. Of which 1589 were pending investigation. Data revealed that investigation into 1732 cases of crime against women has been pending since 2018. Women in J&K have also faced cyberbullying, stalking, and blackmailing last year. NCRB data revealed that six cybercrimes against women including publishing or transmitting sexually explicit material were recorded by the crime branch last year. Three cases relate to blackmailing, defamation, morphing, and fake profiles on social media. The authorities need to act stringently against perpetrators of such violence.