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Domestic violence

A young woman in Ahmedabad city dies of suicide. She records a video giving the heart wrenching details why she is taking the extreme step before she plunges into Sabarmati river. On phone, her parents appeal her not to take her life and come back to them. But the woman says she has endured enough and considers death as the only way out. As per reports, the woman was repeatedly harassed by her in-laws and her husband who allegedly demanded dowry, pressurising her to end her life. The video soon went viral as netizens demanded justice for the deceased woman. It is quite unfortunate that a young life was lost. The incident brings to fore the widespread domestic violence and harassment in the society and throws light on how a person subjected to extreme mental torture can become hopeless to the point of taking her own life. In Kashmir too crimes against woman have seen a sharp increase of the years. While many of us are living in our bubble that ours is a very civilized and morally correct society, the situation on the ground easily pricks it. According to a report by the United Nations, violence against women is any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. A study done by University of Kashmir some years ago revealed that around 31% of the 200 women interviewed during the research claimed physical harassment/beating at the hands of their husbands and in-laws. While a majority of such women (75%) experienced physical harassment only once, yet for some (07.00%) it was a regular feature of domestic life. A 39.49% respondents faced dowry demand by in-laws and another 9% respondents were asked by their husbands for gifts. During COVID lockdown the incidence of domestic violence increased. According to the National Commission for Women, they had received over 250 complaints since the lockdown was imposed to control the spread of coronavirus, out of which 69 are cases of domestic violence which indicates an alarming rise in such cases. National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) has exposed law enforcing agencies for slow progress in investigations into the crimes against women in Jammu and Kashmir. NCRB has revealed that nearly half of the cases recorded last year are awaiting investigation. Jammu and Kashmir last year witnessed as many as 3069 cases of crime against women including rapes, molestation, and domestic violence. Of which 1589 are pending investigation. Data revealed that investigation into 1732 cases of crime against women has been pending since 2018. The state recorded 3437 such cases in 2018. Interestingly, 12518 cases of crime against women have been pending in courts of the newly declared union territory.  Different courts completed the trial in 1353 cases last year. NCRB figures revealed that 70 persons have been convicted of crimes against women, while 17 were discharged and 2506 acquitted. Figures revealed that 223 incidents of rape have been recorded in the union territory last year.  212 victims are above 18 years old. Data revealed that there have been 13 attempts of rape during the last year. There have been 1440 cases of ‘assault on women with intent to outrage their modesty’ in J&K last year. There have been 348 cases of cruelty by husband last year. NCRB data revealed 381 women were kidnapped for forcible marriage. 369 victims have been in the age group of the forties and 368 in the late thirties. The crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir police also recorded eight dowry-related deaths in the union territory last year.