News Kashmir Exclusive
With the holy month of Ramadan about to end series of festivals are dawning the most important being the Eid al-Fitr which is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). This religious Eid (Muslim religious festival) is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal.
In Kashmir the festivals come in backdrop of pain and violence hit background. At least 114 people, including 53 militants, 34 civilians and 27 security personnel, have lost their lives in militancy-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir in the first four months of year . A ray of hope is the Ramzan ceasefire announced by the Indian government on May 16, 2018, comes after a period of heightened armed violence and killings in Kashmir and as a result the death count in the holy month of Ramadan has come down.
The realities also call us on to remind the issues of orphans and widows, half-widows.
Due to violence of three decades in Kashmir the number of orphans has risen sharply after the cycles of violence clamed thousands of lives , mostly young men, many of them fathers.The UK-based NGO Save the Children sometime back put the number of orphans in Kashmir at 214,000 , 37 percent of whom have been ‘orphaned’ – either directly, due to their parents’ death, or indirectly, through poverty – by the conflict. The orphanages spread across the Kashmir Valley are full of children who still have one parent – mostly mothers – but have been driven by destitution into state-funded homes.
Issues faced by disappeared person families and half widows are also many.
While authorities estimate the missing to number approx 4,000, the Association of Disappeared Persons (APDP) estimates there are actually between 8,000 and 10,000 missing people in the region. The number of publicly announced and reported half-widows in the Kashmir valley is between 2,000 and 2,500..
, a young journalist states -” The pain hit atmosphere of Kashmir and tragedies urge on all of us to celebrate the festivals no doubt with fervour and zest but maintain utmost austerity. We should contribute our bit to uplift the poor and downtrodden and help the orphans and heal the miseries of half widows. Let us take a pledge on the eve of these sacred festivals to make Kashmir a very best place to live for one and all. We also pray that conflict is resolved so that violence comes to an end. The need of the hour is to defnitely remember those in grief and visit them and also provide solace to victims of violence. “