It is the 51st day of the curfew and strict communication blockage in occupied Kashmir.
The occupied Kashmir remains cut off from the rest of the world since August 05 after the Bhartia Janta Party (BJP) led Indian government scraped Article 370 which stripped Kashmir off its special status as an autonomous state.
The healthcare system has collapsed in Kashmir and women are deprived of basic health facilities like access to sanitary pads. Women there do not have an access to the stores and are thus forced to use old cloth and cotton, causing several dangerous diseases, ranging from skin irritation to cervical cancer.
Gulzar Bhat, a reporter at National Herald and a resident of Srinagar shared the current situation of Kashmiri women living in India occupied Kashmir.
Here are some horrific stories told by Gulzar about the on going miserable situations faced by Kashmiri women.
Rizwana and Friend
On September 14, 22-year-old Rizwana rushed to her friend’s house, located a few doors down the dirt lane at Panzith Wanpora, a quaint village in Qazigund, some 60 kms south of Srinagar. As soon as her friend answered the door, Rizwana, almost winded out, asked her for sanitary pads.
“She took a pack out of her steel cabinet, wrapped it in an old newspaper and handed it over to me,” said Rizwana. Due to the lockdown in Kashmir, she was unable to buy the pads.
Ghazala Mustafa and Old Cloth
Ghazala Mustafa, a resident of Anantnag town, said that she was forced to use old cloth as she or her mother could not venture out of their house to buy the pads.
Saima and her Mother
In neighbouring Kulgam district, Saima Farooq, a post-graduate student at a local university, attempted to buy the pads repeatedly but failed. Although many a times she found a pharmacy half open at the corner of her street functioning, she failed to buy the product.
“I almost reached the shop thrice but I could not buy the pads as a CRPF man was always standing there,” Saima said
Saima’s middle-aged mother told the reporter that,
“Only a few shops half-open their shutters in the main market in the evening but it is always a dicey affair to go there. You don’t know when forces will appear and clashes will break out.”
Rubia and Covered Faces College Students
Rubia and a group of young college-going girls who lived in a village 6 kms from Pulwana town said,
“I always go to town and buy them from a particular shop. During the past one month, I have not been able to visit the place even once.”
A valley-based doctor, Masarat Jan confirmed that women are now using old cloths and cotton to manage the situation during the curfew which is making women vulnerable to many diseases.
“Anything from skin irritation to cervical cancer is possible,” she said.