News Kashmir Exclusive
Eid-al-Fitr (Eid al-Fitr, Eid ul-Fitr, Id-Ul-Fitr, Eid) which is the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal. This festival marks the end of Ramadan, which is a month of fasting and prayer. Many Muslims attend collective prayers, listen to a khutba (sermon) and give zakat al-fitr (charity ) during Eid al-Fitr. Throughout Muslim world this festival is marked by great celebrations.
As we are marking the festival of Eid-al-Fitr the buzz word is that remembering orphans should be the primary concern for all of us especially in Kashmir wherein past two decades turmoil and violence has created large number of orphans.
A few years back, according to a survey conducted by the sociology department of Kashmir University along with Jammu and Kashmir Yateem Foundation Kashmir an approximate number of 2.14 lakh orphans and 32,000 widows are there in Kashmir due to the two decades of turmoil which aptly shows the gravity of the problem.
Voices of Conscience are calling on masses to remember the orphans on the eve of Eid -al- Fitr .
Ajaz Ahmad War, a Journalist states – “ Eid is a time of happiness in which everybody has a reason to smile, celebrate and sharing the joy with family, relatives and friends. However, orphaned children feel the pain of not having parents whenever any religious festivity such as Eid is around. We need to remember our orphans on Eid by helping them. It is important to mention Child labour in Jammu and Kashmir has augmented rapidly in recent years as the number of orphans has increased on account of conflict and violence. In spite of anti-child labour laws two lacs 40 thousand children are working as labourers in Jammu & Kashmir. Many children have been orphaned in the conflict which resulted in the tremendous increase of Child labour in the valley. Let us all pledge to remember orphan children of our state on the auspicious occasions of the Eid by helping them in every manner .”
Pertinently, unofficial estimates, there’re about 300,000 child labourers in the state with 70% of the teenagers belonging to the Valley and most of them orphaned in the conflict.
Masses and expert voices also state that in view of the disappointing role played by Ngos the onus is on more common people of Kashmir to render a helping hand to orphans as number Ngos rose up in the name of rendering helping hand to thousands of orphan Children of the Kashmir but the work performed by them is unimpressive.
On the otherhand, not paying Zakat or donations by many affluent people in our part of the world has aggravated the problems of orphans. In this regard, Eminent Islamic scholar, Prof Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi recently urged Muslims of Kashmir to pay their Zakat to fulfill the needs of sustenance, education, healthcare and rehabilitation of orphans and widows.
Rafiabadi was speaking at a seminar titled ‘Plight of Orphans and Widows- Our Responsibilities’ organized as part of mass awareness campaign by J&K Yateem Foundation at degree college Shopian.
The scholar called for taking concrete measures to rehabilitate thousands of orphans, widows and destitute through well structured rehabilitation mechanism. He said through education the orphan children could be empowered while creating livelihood and employment opportunities for them to become self sufficient.
Syed Tajamul Imran, a student states – “Despite scores of NGOs coming up in past twenty years in name of helping orphans in Kashmir but on ground zero orphans are suffering. Many of them are almost left on their own, becoming bread earners of a family at a very minor age and thus they suffer . While the response of the civil society in Jammu and Kashmir is dismal it is thus our prime responsibility as humans with humane heart to remember our orphans on eve of Eid and render them helping hand . Providing orphans and vulnerable children with a primary and secondary education, nutrition and medical care should be priority . On larger level, With more than 140 million orphans around the world, the need is great .”
On Eid, Spare a thought for Orphans of Kashmir is the dominant thought in the festive environment of Kashmir.