In a disturbing trend, at least eight girls have gone missing in Kashmir in past two months.
On May 14, two girls went missing from two locations in Kashmir.
They were identified by the police as 18 years old Reenaz Jan from Kheribal Mattan while the other was identified as Rubina Akhter (19), daughter of Chaand Bajad resident of Rajouri, who at present lives at Wangund Teilbal Srinagar.
The police issued missing report of the duo to the media after their families recorded a statement with their respective police stations.
The incidents did not stop here.
On June 20, police released another missing report of a girl saying “Jammu and Kashmir Police seeks help to trace out a teenage girl Baseerat Altaf missing from Lal Bazaar area of Srinagar since June 17”.
Similarly on June 21, Police sought help from the public in tracing out a missing girl from Pandrethan area of Srinagar.
“Police Station Panthachowk received a complaint that a 19-year-old girl is missing from Pandrethan. A missing report has been lodged in this regard and investigation to trace her has been started,” stated a police press release.
On June 27, a girl Bisma went missing from her home in Buchpora locality of Srinagar, police stated while appealing people to extend a helping hand to trace out the missing girl.
In the month of July, police reported that three girls have gone missing from their homes.
Police said that a 17-year-old Muskan (Gudiya) went out of the hotel and didn’t return on July 2.
On July 05, a lady, Nazeera Akhter, resident of Chanapora, Srinagar, went to the local police post and reported that her 18-year-old daughter Talya Rasool had gone to school, but did not return
Akhter said the girl was wearing school uniform and black color Abaya.
Another girl identified as a Sumiya Akhter from Baghat, Barzulla went missing on July 9.
The girl went missing from her in-laws home and did not return, the police said.
The police, however, claims that majority of the missing girls have been traced.
“In some cases the task has been painstaking and challenging,” a police official said
The police official admits that the number of missing girls was increasing.
“There are many factors which have contributed towards the increasing trend of abandoning homes by the girls,” the police official said, who wanted to remain anonymous.
The official blamed addiction to social media sites, love affairs and family issues as some of the prime reasons as to why girls abandon homes.
Social Policy Scholar Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Malla while talking to Kashmir Post said that cases of increasing missing girls can’t be understood in isolation.
“First, when we talk about such issues, we tend to hold a particular gender responsible for it. Truth is our society and cultural values have always demanded women to be more conservative and ‘modest’ while the other gender is mostly absolved from such ‘clutches’ of modesty,” Malla said.
“Merely holding social networking responsible for it will be myopic”.
He said Kashmir has an alarming social imbalance essentially perpetuated by the decades of conflict.
“Usually people from a certain social strata come under the influence of those predators thrown up by the conflict who force girls to leave their homes”.
“As a matter of fact, our society has been historically shaped and protected by religious morality. We have been gradually drifting away from religious teaching. And the more we drift away from it, the more such incidents are likely to occur”.