In Kashmir, Security Searches Lead to Sexual Abuse

India’s renewed Cordon and Search Operations are proving a nightmare for Kashmir’s women.

Zareena (name changed on request) remembers every detail of that evening: “There was a commotion outside. A group of policemen made their way into the lawn and started kicking and breaking whatever their eyes fell on. We were looking through the window of our kitchen. They banged on the door and broke it open. After that, they started smashing everything in the living room. The TV, the vases, photo frames and wall-hangings, and everything. We were crying, pleading them to leave but they were in a stupor of rage and frenzy.”

This happened in January 2018. Redwani village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam district was sealed by units of Jammu and Kashmir’s Special Operation Group, Central Reserve Police Force, and Indian Army. They had received a tip-off that militants were hiding in a house in this village.

Acting on this information, the Indian forces had launched a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO), in the village and searched almost every house.

“It seemed they were not looking for any militant. They had come with a determination to smash everything. Why else would they smash the TV and break the refrigerator? A militant cannot be hiding in there,” an angry Zareena said.


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