I paid a home visit to one of the students studying in the spring buds Institution  in Budgam, Kashmir. The family belongs to middle class economic strata. I observed the culture, the importance of religion, and the gender dynamics in that family. The family consists of father, mother, grandfather and four children. I talked to each of the family member with the help of a translator. The boys are send for studying where the girls will be married off after PDC [plus two].

The females did not even attempt to come to the hall where we were talking. I first thought that whether it because she was busy with the kitchen. However when we asked to the father, he said that it is the culture here. The women in the family should take care of all the household activities and they are not “permitted” to come to outside when there is a presence of men from outside the family.

It was fascinated for me, as I have never seen such a phenomena in Kerala or any other state I visited. In all the places, the women in the family talks to you, ask about all the background information, provide snacks and tea etc. In her, the women make the food but do not serve it. Serving is done by the men in the family. I tried to correlate this act with the political condition of Kashmir and the military dominance over the common people. However still I am unable to find answers for it.

The father said that over dominance of the military using the Armed Forces Special Power act is often a tool to savage the lives of ordinary lives.  The girls are raped, the young are murdered by accusing that they are terrorists even in the absence of any solid evidence, older people are arrested by accusing that they helped terrorists etc. The father continued by saying a story that happened in the locality. A raid happened in a nearby house and everybody was suspicious that what had gotten into this. The raided house consisted father, brother and sister. The army arrested brother first accusing that he was seen with the terrorists. 

The father went to army camp for seeing his son however it was denied to him. He again went there to see his son and pressured the army officers about why his son was arrested and the evidence for arrest. After that day, father also went missing. Then some army officers came to the house and raped the girl brutally. Then they released father and the brother saying that some terrorists raped the girl hence they will be send to jail if the news goes outside. 

Such stories are common in the places like Gulmarg, Baramulla etc where militancy exist. The common men and women, children and youth are threatened, abused, and murdered day by day by the terrorists as well as Army. Ordinary people do not have any place to go, and do something other than just suffer what come to them.

The father in the house which Is went said something about the process of identification that happened in Kashmir in 1991. After that continuous terrorists attack, the army started an identification process for all the people in Kashmir and if the army had any doubt regarding the person, he was send to custody to sub jail for further action and questioning. He was send to jail once for 6 months and then they released him. However thousands of people got arrested and some are still in jail. The stories gave I a new perspective regarding the lives of people there.

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