After an alarm was raised by civil society and NGOs about the growing crimes against women in Kashmir and the pitiable condition of orphans and half-widows whose husbands “disappeared in custody”, Ulema held a consultative session in Srinagar to give the final verdict on this issue. The Ulema had earlier reached a consensus that half-widows can re-marry after waiting for their husbands’ return for four years. Many half-widows are forced to remain in widowhood for decades after their husbands’ disappearance and many of them are finally thrown out by their in-laws.
“There are dozens of half-widows in Kashmir whose husbands disappeared in custody. These women have been waiting for them endlessly. Many of them have been driven out from their homes by their in-laws and are living virtually on streets with their children. Ulema and society should come to their rescue immediately,” said Dr Aneesa Shafi, Head of Department of Sociology, University of Kashmir.
Many NGOs working for these half-widows and orphans in Kashmir held a special session of Ulemas to deliberate upon the issues related to property rights of these women and children. “Many have misused religion in order to grab the property of these half-widows and their wards,” said Parveena Ahangar, chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons. The spokesperson of the meeting said that a joint statement about the property rights of half-widows and orphans would be issued after series of meetings between all the religious scholars here.