The self-described Islamic State (IS) uses violation of women as a tool to govern, hold territory and fund its operation. Women are captured by this militant group and auctioned off or promised to upcoming recruits. In some rare cases they are rescued by a heroic group of lawyers and activists, but by and large, this system of sex slavery is a gruesome reality for thousands of young women. This malaise has spread across regions that were in control of the Islamic State (IS). The exploitation of Yazidi women by IS that has now comes to world’s notice has emerged as an ultimate example of barbarism.
ISIS or the IS has implemented a deeply rooted system of sex slavery involving the women of Yazidi religious minority that continues even today. Many of these unfortunate and hapless women who were captured while trying to flee Sinjar Mountain last August were shipped off on a fleet of buses to a set of holding pens in the city of Mosul and other areas within Iraq. It was in these enclosures where many of the captured Yazidi women heard the word “Sabaya” for the first time. Sabaya refers to a “Theology of Rape” created by Islamic State (IS) on the premise that Islamic faith gives a right to devout Muslims to rape women practicing a religion other than Islam. According to Sabaya it is condoned and encouraged.
Slain Lashkar-e-Taiba member Abu Dujana was just one of the many militants in Jammu & Kashmir who did not hesitate from taking take a break from the violence to indulge in amorous affairs and force himself on innocent Kashmiris.
The objects of affection or lust are not always women, there are several recorded incidents where these militants were found in a relationship with men. One such incident was recorded in Tral where the militants belonged to the Hizbul Mujahedeen. Another militant from Anantnag, Aadil Ahmed Reshi, killed on January 15, this year, was involved with a married woman from Srinagar. The lovers pleaded earnestly not to reveal their true identities for fear of a social backlash.
Many Kashmiri girls have been victims of the sexual lust of these militants. These hapless girls had been forcibly kidnapped from their homes and sexually assaulted for several days and months before being set free. Several others who had resisted were killed mercilessly, some others died because of the violent nature of sexual assaults.
Lately, Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir has emerged as the hotbed of Islamic militants. In the past two weeks, about 22 militants, including six top “commanders”, have been neutralised in nine different operations in the region. Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh claimed that a total of 88 militants had been killed since January in 36 different operations.
In a shocking revelation, cartons of condom, Viagra, contraceptive pills and porn videos were recovered from a hideout in Shopian. It exposes the fact that the militants active in Jammu and Kashmir who profess to be waging Jihad (holy war) in the name of Islam, have been, all along, involved in sexual exploitation of innocent Kashmiri women. The recovery of materials such as sexual potency enhancing drugs, contraceptive pills to avoid complications later on, pornographic material and condoms from the hideouts draws a sharp similarity between the rampant sexual abuse of women in Jammu and Kashmir with that of subjugation of women as sex slaves by the ISIS in Syria. It reveals that the militants were not averse to creation of their own version of Sabaya in Kashmir thus bringing to light yet another element in their brutality and depravity under the guise of a holy war for the ‘liberation’ of the Union Territory.
“I was forcibly abducted and married after the Jaish militants barged in my house and thrashed my family members. I was already married to Tanveer Ahmad. He too was beaten and forced to divorce me. When I refused to go with the militant, he forcibly abducted me,” said a young woman, crying inconsolably. This woman was kidnapped from her house by the Jais-e-Muhammad militants and subjected to repeated gang rapes by Jaish militants. Her testimony reveals the nature of sexual exploitation by Jasih-e-Muhammad militants.
The woman’s father and family had no option but to concur with the pervasive sexual depravity perpetrated by the militants in Jammu and Kashmir. “We had married off our daughter to Tanveer but then Dawood (Jaish militant) forcibly abducted our daughter after mercilessly thrashing us. We ran pillar to post to free her but he threatened us with a gun. What could we do then? We were helpless, he took away our daughter,” said the woman’s father.
This is not Jihad by any means. There is no theological sanction for it. It is the product of a depraved lust and goes against all tenets of humanity. With militancy in Kashmir on its last breath, families are now gathering courage to report such incidents and also assist the security forces in neutralising such militants, who have brought shame to their families.
We Kashmiris pray that these sordid matters soon become a thing of the past and everyone gets an opportunity to apply balm to their wounds while starting life afresh.