Photo: Eline Rilda
Photo: Eline Rilda

Kingston students discuss sexual violence in Kashmir

The world must pressure the Indian government to help oppressed women in Kashmir, Kashmiri students said in a talk yesterday.

Kashmiri Students Campaign visited Kingston University to talk about the prevalence of institutional rape in one of the world’s most militarised regions.

Founder Sofiya Ahmed said: “The Indian government says rape is an internal issue, and they do not do enough about it. Therefore, global actions need to be taken. We need to spark the debate and put it back on the agenda.”

In collaboration with the Feminist Society, the KSC held an event to mark the 24th anniversary of the Kunan Poshpora incident, when soldiers of the Indian army allegedly gang raped between 50 to 100 women.

Today, one in seven Kashmiris has witnessed rape, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres. One in ten are victim of a sexual assault, with a lot of unreported cases.

Ahmed explained that many rape victims find themselves unable to get married due to social stigma and cultural shame.

Flora Cohen, 18, studying nursing, said: “This is not something you hear about in the news. It is a topic I don’t know so much about, so it was interesting to find out what is going on there. I knew there was some tension, but I did not know what the women are going through.”

Organiser of the event, Elaha Walizadeh, said: “I am glad that Kingston University is politicising. We are not only talking about British politics, but international issues rather than just parties at Pryzm.”

Only eight students showed up to the talk.

Walizadeh said: “I am disappointed that people preferred attending a party at Space Bar rather than an event that raises awareness about institutional sexual violence against women in conflict.”

KSC will be organising a demonstration outside the Indian embassy in London on February 22 to show their support for women in Kashmir.

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