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Out Of 750 suicide attempts at SMHS last year, 490 were attempted by females

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Mar 12: A few months into her second marriage, twenty-nine-year-old Moomina (name changed), was in utter shock when she recently logged in her Facebook account. Her ex-husband had splashed her pictures with obscene captions all over the social media platform.
Moomina endured her first marriage for around two months, during which she was locked up and beaten black and blue by her husband, who had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and was mentally unwell. His family had conveniently hidden these issues from Moomina’s before marriage.
Then one night, when her husband had forgotten locking the door, Moomina fled away. She soon filed for a divorce and got it within a year.
The pictures on her Facebook profile however meant the ordeal hadn’t ended. She filed a complaint in the cyber police station, desperate to hide the pictures from her new husband. But her persistence didn’t pay off – the complaint moved at a snail’s pace. The stock response of police was: the IP address of perpetrator is being identified. Meanwhile, her husband discovered the pictures, and out of fear, anger and shame she tried to end her life.
Moomina survived as her kin saved her in the nick of time.
But everyone is not as lucky as Moomina.
A twenty-year-old girl from Pulwama was one such unlucky victim of cyber bullying. Last week, she consumed some poisonous substance and was found frothing at her mouth by her family. They hurriedly shifted her to SMHS hospital here, where she was declared brought dead.
The family members of the girl accused a youth from Keller village for sharing her photograph on social media.
“She was very perturbed by the photograph which made her commit suicide,” her father said, adding that they approached police authorities and lodged a complaint against the accused.
He claimed that a man from Kellar village of Shopian blackmailed her daughter, and compelled her to take the extreme set up.
“I am yet to come to terms that I have lost my daughter. We want justice, and the perpetrator should be put behind the bars,” the dead girl’s father said.
Once uncommon in Kashmir, suicides are now reported almost every other day in the valley.
Official data carves a grim picture. Alone in 2018, 750 people with suicidal intent were treated at SMHS. The patients were below the age of 30.
Data also shows that suicide rate is increasing significantly among women. Of the total number in 2018, 490 were females.
Registrar SMHS hospital, Dr Khawar Khan Achakzai told The Kashmir Monitor that on an average daily two cases of poisoning with suicidal intent are reported at the hospital.
“In some cases, the patients consume poisonous substances, mostly pesticides used for apple cultivation, which are readily available in rural areas.
“The patients who take substantial doses (of poison) need timely intervention within one or two hours after consumption, as they are susceptible to cardio respiratory failure,” Dr Achakzai said.
Such patients, he said, are usually put on mechanical ventilators.
“The reasons (for committing suicide) are usually failure in examinations, love affairs that run awry, domestic abuse, altercation with family members,” the doctor added.
He said that usually in rural areas, the patients are first taken to local dispensaries, where the stomach wash is done by administering hyper-saline water, which increases the sodium levels in blood and a person can die of hypernatremia (rise in serum sodium concentration in a body).
Dr Saima Farhad, a senior assistant professor who teaches social work at Kashmir University, said the suicide of a teenage girl in Pulwama has again shifted light on the problem females endure on a daily basis forcing them to take such extreme measures.
“We need to understand what is driving this behavior? Is it the anticipation of the threat of posting (on social media)? Or the actual act of posting that’s leading to such incidents,” said Dr Farhad.
“The reaction time taken by social media platforms needs to be checked. They should be quick to respond. Facebook and Twitter need to tweak their strategy according to local cultural nuances to avoid such incidents. For instance, what is shameful for a girl in sub-continent might be very different from (what is shameful for one in) the West,” she explained.
“Having said that, social media platforms have created a number of protection mechanisms – protect your profile picture, choose the audience you share your content with etc.” she added.
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 Dr Rather.
Cyber bullying, he said, can have very negative effects on the psyche of a victim.
“The effects can come in the form of 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 won’t talk to family and prefer isolation.”
Dr Rather said that the problem of online harassment is often faced by young.
“Mostly adolescents, and more specifically, girls are the victims,” he said.
“They usually come with complaints of self-harm behavior and upon asking, they report about cyber bullying as precipitating factor or stressor,” he said.
Dr Rather said there was need for some preventive measures including control on media.


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SHO injured in Anantnag attack succumbs at AIIMS

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Srinagar, Jun 16: The Station House Officer of the police station Sadr in Anantnag succumbed on Sunday, four days after he had received critical injuries in a militant attack in the town.

The slain officer Arshad Ahmad Khan was critically injured after militants attacked a joint party of CRPF and police at a bus stand in Anantnag on June 12.

In the attack, five paramilitary troopers and a militant were killed and four other security forces personnel including the Station House Officer were injured in the attack. Besides, a girl Snober (18) daughter of Ashraf Malik of Danter also sustained a bullet wound in her leg.

 

Khan according to reports was being operated in Srinagar’s SKIMS hospital. However, he was flown to Delhi’s AIIMS hospital on Sunday where he succumbed to injuries.

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Malik instrumental in bringing JRL together: NIA

Claims Aalam revealed ‘rift between separatists on funds’

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New Delhi, Jun 16: National Investigating Agency (NIA) Sunday said that the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik was instrumental in bringing the Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani and Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq together to spearhead the 2016 agitation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Yasin Malik was instrumental in bringing together the disparate factions of Hurriyat and formed Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) which spear headed the 2016 agitation in Kashmir,” NIA said in a press statement.

It said that the JRL issued protest calendars leading to economic shutdown for over four months and also caused death/injuries to civilians and security forces in the valley.

 

“Yasin Malik admitted that the JRL and Hurriyat Conference Geelani Group collected funds from business community as well as certain other sources and ensured that economic shut down and violent protests continue to disrupt the daily life of common citizens in the valley,” the NIA said in the statement.

It said that Muslim League chairman Masarat Aalam Bhat revealed in the investigation that Pakistan based agents route funds through hawala operators which were transferred to the separatists including Syed Ali Geelani.

“Aalam said there are rifts in the Hurriyat regarding collection/use of funds,” it said.

The NIA said leader of Duktaran-e-Milat, Asiya Andrabi, was grilled by it about the educational expenses of her son in Malaysia incurred by Zahoor Watali, who was arrested in the alleged funding case.

“During interrogation, Asiya Andrabi admitted that she had been collecting funds and donations from foreign sources and Duktaran-e-Milat had been organising protests by Muslim women in the valley,” it claimed.

The NIA has already approached the relevant authorities for providing evidence relating to certain bank accounts used by Asiya Andrabi’s son Mohammad bin Qasim while he was in the university, it said.

Another separatist leader, Shabbir Shah, had to face some tough time when he was confronted about his businesses, including a hotel in Pahalgam which is allegedly funded through foreign funds received by him from Pakistan, the statement said.

“During the custodial interrogation, Shabir Shah was confronted with evidence relating to transfer of money by Pakistan-based agents and representatives of APHC (All Parties Hurriyat Conference) factions to parties affiliated to Hurriyat in J and K. He was also confronted about his investments in various hotels and businesses in Pahalgam, properties in Jammu, Srinagar and Anantnag,” the NIA said.

The NIA had registered a case in May, 2017 against belonging to Jammat ud Dawah, Duktaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and other separatist leaders in the state for raising, receiving and collecting funds to fuel separatist and terrorist activities and entering into a larger conspiracy for causing disruption in Kashmir Valley and for waging war against India.

The agency has so far charge-sheeted 13 accused, including leader of Jammat-ud Dawah Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, head of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen Syed Salahuddin, seven separatist leaders, two hawala conduits and some stone-pelters.

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Have busted ‘Shuara-e-Zindan’ inside jails: Police

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Srinagar, Jun 16: The Jammu and Kashmir Police has busted ‘Shuara-e-Zindan’ (supreme council for jail), a term used by militants for governance inside prisons, and restored the prison manual completely, officials said here.

After the escape of Naveed Jatt, a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, last February, the Jammu and Kashmir prison department under the leadership of Dilbagh Singh took a series of measures to “sanitise” prisons, including shifting all hardcore militants from the Srinagar Central Jail.

“A complete analysis of the prisoners was carried out and the message was loud and clear that the hold of terrorists inside the prison needs to be broken and rule of law needs to be implemented,” says Singh, who recently relinquished the post of Director General of Prisons, said.

 

However, he did not elaborate further on the measures carried out and said “we have only ensured that hardened militants and separatists are segregated from those who are first-timers and have a scope of improvement.”

However, the officials in the state prison department said after Singh took charge, raids and searches were carried out regularly and militants were shifted to other jails in Jammu and Udhampur.

Two cases were registered at Rainawari police station which includes the one where militants were operating “Shaura-e-Zindan” inside the jail which used to decide allotment of barracks and other amenities to the prisoners, the officials said.

The ‘Shaura-e-Zindan’ used to provide facilities to the prisoners based on their experience in the field of militancy, which includes food of their choice and other facilities, they said, adding Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, serving life sentence, was the supreme commander of this group.

Now, after the crackdown and repeated searches, all private kitchens operating inside the jail premises, have been shut and all inmates queue up to the common ‘langar’ where they are served food, they said.

There was a report in December 2017 that “sermons are given on Jehad…The basic tenets of religion are overlooked and emphasis is laid on radical aspects. Such religious sermons have a deep psychological impact on inmates and youths in particular who develop inclination towards joining militancy or getting recruited as overground workers (for militants).”

It said the jail, which is expected to act as a correctional facility, is “instead being used as a place of religious indoctrination and militant recruitment”.

“It is being observed that even petty criminal who spend some time in jails are today coming out as highly indoctrinated individuals with religious motivation to support or even join militant ranks,” it said. However, Singh ensured that there is a segregation of prisoners and people arrested for charges under terrorism or separatism are treated with higher degree of caution and separated from inmates arrested for petty crimes.

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