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#MeToo: This 23-yr-old girl is using Instagram ‘to appeal to the sanity of men’

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Oct 4: Pakistani poet, Kishwar Naheed is famous for her poem – We Sinful Women. In the same tone, a girl on Instagram proudly proclaims: I affirm that I am morally degenerate. I affirm that all women are. Yet, we may be the black sheep, but some of the white sheep aren’t as white as they might seem.

This is the manifesto of the Instagram page called textswomenreceive.

The page posts screenshots of texts received by the 23-year-old girl from Srinagar who manages the account from men.

 

She has archived the screenshots of 1000+ messages on her page and posted several of them on her account till now.

She prefers to remain anonymous fearing reprisal.

The phenomenon is not new. At a time when the world is fighting against sexual harassment, abuse and molestation, there are umpteen incidents of online harassment that go unreported.

While millions of women from across the globe are courageously opening up about such stories with the hashtag #MeToo on social media, an Instagram account created by a 23-year-old student is garnering many women followers with an aim to stop the harassment of women on social media.

She explains: “The thought for the page came after I was frequently harassed by an unknown guy on Facebook messenger. He would insist on meeting me. When I refused and blocked him, he started texting and abusing me from another account. That was the time when I realized that I am not the only one, there must so many girls who go through the same.”

Talking to The Kashmir Monitor, she said that she had earlier thought of reporting to the cyber police but did not have the courage to do so.
The messages kept pouring in and she decided to post them on Instagram instead.“I received all kinds of messages. Hey! Hi! You’re pretty. You’re so interesting, you intrigue me, let’s meet over a cup of coffee. There were messages that are sexually explicit. When you don’t respond they start hurling abuses at you,” she recalls.

She added, “So many horrific things are being said to women online. Yes, I may not be able to change them, but I can use this platform to appeal to the sanity of moral men. There are males who think such things don’t exist and question why girls are always skeptical of men. I want to change their perception by showing them the reasons of our unexpressed fears.”

She believes the anonymous platform can help more girls to speak about the issues that they normally dread sharing with anyone. She said, “I can’t start a revolution but that doesn’t mean we will normalize what is happening with us. I think this page is a small step towards giving a voice to our sufferings.”

She has garnered a positive response from lot of women who share their personal experiences of online harassment. The account is also getting messages from men who are supportive of this initiative.“The most interesting response I’ve gotten till now was that of 21-year-old who had sent an inappropriate message to someone and he genuinely felt remorseful and apologetic,” she said.
Official figures reveal that in the year 2017, 51 cases of cyber-related crimes have been witnessed in Jammu and Kashmir while as 48 such cases are under the investigation.

Dr Yasir Rather, Neuro-psychiatrist and De-Addiction Specialist at SMHS defined online harassment also known as cyber-bullying as “hurting someone else using social networking or online sites.”“This includes sending messages, posting threatening, intimidating comments, and posting humiliating pictures,” said Yasir.

The psychiatrist said that it can have very negative effects on psyche of a victim. He said, “The effects can come in the form of an emotional distress, anger frustration and depression and loss of self-esteem. They can even indulge in self-harm behavior. At times they may become so withdrawn that they don’t talk to family and get isolated.”

Yasir said that the problem of online harassment is often faced by young and of adolescent age group and its “mostly girls who are victims of it.”
“They usually come with complaints of self-harm behavior and upon detail history they report about cyber bullying as precipitating factor or stressor,” he said.

Dr Muzzafar Khan, Consultant Psychologist at Help Foundation and Director of Police, Drug De-addiction Centre in Srinagar, urged the parents to create a conducive environment within the family so that their children can freely talk to them.
“Instead of discouraging our kids from speaking out on such matters, we should encourage them. Sharing is very important when it comes to harassment. If you try to hush this problem, you are making the perpetrator become stronger.”


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Assembly, Parl polls: ECI seeks security report from JK

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jan 19: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has sought a report from the Jammu and Kashmir government about the security situation in the state before taking a final call for conducting parliamentary and J&K Assembly polls.
Almost all the political parties have suggested holding assembly elections simultaneously with parliamentary polls in the state.
The ECI has sought the report from the Chief Electoral Officer about the security situation in J&K.
“The decision about holding of polls will be taken once the final report is submitted to the ECI,” an official at Chief Electoral Office said.
The CEO, the official said, has already briefed the ECI on the preparedness for the parliamentary and assembly elections.
“The CEO JK is set to meet the ECI next week in connection with the polls and submit the final report about the security situation in the state,” the official said.
He added that the state government has constituted two teams headed by divisional commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu. “The CEO will first hold meeting with them before submitting the report to the ECI,” he said.
Following which, the ECI team will visit the state and hold a review of preparedness for the polls.
CEO J&K, Shailendra Kumar, said they held several meetings with the ECI about the preparedness of the polls. “We also held a meeting with the ECI on January 10 and responded to poll body’s queries. Rest I can’t say anything,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.
On Friday, Kumar held a meeting with representatives of political parties to discuss holding of polls. Almost all the parties were of the view that parliamentary and assembly elections should be held together.
The CEO told the political parties that his office has already taken necessary steps for holding the elections, but decision lies with the ECI.
Kumar said more than three lakh new voters have been added to the voters’ list in Jammu and Kashmir. He said that many as 3,07,813 additions, 1,25,834 deletions, 94,565 corrections and 14,989 transpositions have been made in the latest voters’ list.
J&K is under President’s rule after six months of Governor’s rule, which began after the BJP withdrew support from the PDP in June last year.

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Woman delivers on road after LD refuses admitting her, newborn dies soon after

Govt orders probe; concerned health officials, facilities widely criticised

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Srinagar, Jan 19: The J&K government Saturday directed Principal, Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar to probe the incident in which a woman was forced to deliver on the roadside in sub-zero temperatures in Srinagar leading to the death of her baby.
The woman from the far-flung area of Moori, Kalaroos in north Kashmir’s Kupwara was reportedly refused entry by doctors late Thursday night after which she gave birth to a baby on the roadside near Lal Ded, Kashmir’s premier maternity hospital here.
Suraya Begum delivered a girl around 8.30 pm in chilling weather and her baby died soon after birth, The Indian Express reported.
The woman’s brother, Hami Zaman, as per the report, said Suraya had developed labour pain on Thursday at home.
With nearly 3-feet snow in the area, the road between Mooree and Kalaroos, where the nearest hospital is located, was not motorable. “Around 15 people put my sister on a charpoy and we walked for six hours to reach the hospital (in Kalaroos, around 14 km away),” he said.
Doctors there referred her to Kupwara hospital, from where she was further referred to Lal Ded Hospital in Srinagar.
At Lal Ded, the family said, Suraya was kept under observation for a few hours. Hospital authorities, as per the Express report, subsequently refused to admit her.
“At around 8.30 pm, my sister developed severe pain again and delivered a baby girl on the road. The newborn died immediately,” Zaman said.
The normal delivery by the woman also puts a question mark on the functioning of peripheral hospitals especially in Kupwara from where she was referred late in the evening to Srinagar.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan said that a formal order has been issued to Principal GMC requiring him to look into the factual position as regards denial of entry of the woman into the hospital leading her delivering on the roadside as a consequence of which her baby died.
“This incident needs a thorough inquiry to find out the factual position, so that appropriate action is taken against the concerned if found liable for such negligence/act,” reads the order issued by the Divisional Commissioner to the Principal GMC.
“You are accordingly directed to enquire into the matter and furnish the inquiry report along with your explicit comments within two days, treating the matter most urgent,” the order added.
Medical Superintendent of Lal Ded hospital, Dr Shabir Sidiqui said that the matter has been already taken up with the head of the Department Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr Farhat Jabeen.
“Pending inquiry, the doctor who was on duty on Thursday has been attached to Principal GMC, Srinagar,” the Superintendent said.
The incident was widely condemned.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti expressed pain and anguish over it.
Taking to Twitter, Omar said he hoped the administration led by governor Satya Pal Malik would take immediate take action in the tragic case.
“I hope the state functionaries working under the command of @jandkgovernor take immediate action in this tragic case,” Omar wrote on Twitter.
Mehbooba expressed her pain for turning away the pregnant woman from the lone maternity care hospital in capital city, saying “she cannot even begin to fathom the pain & trauma the parents must feel.”
“Heart wrenching that a pregnant woman was turned away from a hospital, which ironically is named after the great Kashmiri mystic saint Lal Ded. She later gave birth to a still born in frigid temperatures. Cannot even begin to fathom the pain & trauma the parents must feel,” she tweeted.
JJ panel directs CWC to register case
The Juvenile Justice Panel Saturday expressed deep shock and anguish over the “criminal negligence” of Lal Ded hospital Authorities in refusing to admit and to provide medical assistance to the woman from Kalaroos, Kupwara.
Justice Hasnain Masoodi, Chairperson, Selection cum Oversight Committee and G A Sofi, Mission Director, ICPS lamented over the gross negligence of the doctors at LD, while inaugurating one day Capacity Building workshop for Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) for Chairperson and Members of CWCs of Jammu Division.
It was pointed out that right to be born and right to survive are important rights of a child, recognized under International Convention on Child Rights (CRC), Constitution of India and the State and any violation of the rights is not only condemnable in strongest words but punishable under Law. The incident was said to indicate insensitivity of stakeholders to the Child Rights and Child Protection issues.
Justice Masoodi requested government to initiate a time bound probe into the matter so that erring Doctors/officials are identified and dealt with under Law without any delay and consider overhauling the Hospital Administration in the meantime.
The CWC, Srinagar has been asked to enquire into the matter and on the basis of outcome get a case registered against the Doctor responsible for the incident, under relevant provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013 as also Ranbir Penal Code.

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PDP expels Altaf Bukhari for ‘anti-party’ activities

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Srinagar, Jan 19: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday expelled its leader Altaf Bukhari from the party alleging he was involved in “anti-party” activities, which were being “watched with concern for quite some time”.
“Ever since the passing away of our founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, he (Altaf) has been pursuing his personal political ambition at the cost of the party and state interest,” a PDP spokesperson said in a statement.
“Bukhari inspired and led dissent in the party at its most crucial stage, which resulted in serious damage to our efforts at implementing the agenda of alliance of our coalition government. While the party leadership was engaged in negotiations with its partner and the Government of India insisting on implementing some agreed points before forming the new government, the dissension weakened its bargaining position forcing subsequent events against its will,” PDP said.
“In spite of this obvious backstabbing and subversion of people’s interest, the party leadership believed in subsequent explanations and assurances of Bukhari and reposed complete trust in him by reinducting him in cabinet,” PDP spokesperson added.
“Unfortunately, ever after the end of the coalition, Bukhari, instead of pursuing party interest in accordance with the expectations of our voters and workers, started open attempts at breaking the party by hobnobbing with its rivals,” the statement said, adding that newspapers have been running stories almost on daily basis to create impression of Bukhari being at the centre of a ‘rebellion’ brewing in the Party.
“The leadership waited in the hope of Bukhari rejecting these reports to clear the air. But unfortunately he did nothing to remove this impression. It was therefore decided to expel Bukhari from party’s basic membership with immediate effect,” the spokesperson added.

 

Bukhari welcomes move: ‘Was imprisoned, feel free now’

 

Srinagar, Jan 19: Former finance minister, Syed Altaf Bukhari on Saturday welcomed the decision taken by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to expel him, saying that he feels “freed from the confinement”.
Soon after being expelled, Bukhari, as per Kashmir News Service, said: “I am happy that the party has taken a decision to expel me. I feel that I have been relieved from a huge burden and I am freed from the imprisonment and confinement.”
He added that to be in the party was against his voice of conscience. “I am happy that the party has taken this decision. I welcome the party’s decision.”
Altaf was considered as the top leaders of PDP ever since he joined the party. He was inducted in the cabinet twice and served in different portfolios.
In political circles, he was presented as the Chief Minister candidate from the party after the death of former Chief Minister and PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.
Notably, the political maneuvering in Jammu and Kashmir is getting momentum as various political leaders are moving to other political parties ahead of the parliamentary and assembly elections here.
The decision of expelling Altaf from the party is likely to strengthen the third front that is currently being revived in the State.
Several leaders including Altaf Bukhari, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami, Ghulam Hassan Mir and Hakeem Muhammad Yaseen are among the leaders who are in talks to revive the third front.
The leaders had told KNS that the third front will be reemerged in the state likely ahead of the elections

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