Thursday, March 11, 2010

Condition of widows, orphans in Kashmir miserable: Study

Srinagar, Mar 11: The condition of most widows and orphans in Kashmir conflict is miserable as they face multi-dimensional problems, reveals a research study. “Accommodation, educational loss, psychological depression, social disorganisation, insecurity, health deterioration, dependence on others, deviance and delinquency are some of the major issues widows and orphans of conflict face,” says ‘A Sociological Study of Widows and Orphans’, conducted by noted Sociologist, Prof Bashir Ahmad Dabla,. On accommodation issues, the study says: “Most important problem for widows and orphans is shelter. After the death of their husband/father wife and her children were not taken care of either by their patri-kins or matri-kins. They were so often denied their inheritance rights and were compelled to arrange their own accommodation.” “Economically widows and orphans became debased especially in the younger cases. Relatives and friends’ financial help continued for some time, but afterwards it vanished. The only fields of work available for them were handicrafts, child labour and domestic work where they were highly exploited and harassed. They weren’t even paid equal wages,” it added. The most important loss to orphans especially has been in education. “The death of father means stoppage of regular income to the family and they couldn’t pay even the meagre amount of school fees. This results in dropouts upto 40 percent. The number of girls was more than boys in the dropout cases.” The study blamed forces for harassing the orphan girls. “The orphan girls were continuously harassed by the security forces due to which dropout trend increased. This overall affected their mobility in life.” “The widows and orphans also suffer in the field of family, marriage and kinship and it was observed that their unit of family got disorganizational effect. In this social environment, neither the traditional patriarchal authority could be established, nor the traditional norms and values could be legitimised and maintained,” the study said. “Another crucial problem faced by them was feeling of mental and physical insecurity. Even in present situation, some individuals and groups threaten them, making these families security conscious.” On their health condition, Prof Dabla says, “One of the dangerous problem faced by widows and orphans at present was their health. Like other vulnerable sections of society, they have developed abnormal health scenario in which they could not get minimum health needs fulfilled. Most of them were not in a position to get proper treatment and government has failed to provide proper and sufficient medical facilities to them.” The study warned that future of these people would be bleak. “Widows and orphans face the acute feeling that their future will not be bright. They seem more concerned about their future career, occupations, business and employment which doesn’t look encouraging in the present circumstances,” it added.

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