Video By: Nadiya Shafi
Article By: Sajad Rasool
In May 2016 Nadiya Shafi our Community Correspondent got a call from Kamla Bhasin, an Indian women rights activist. This phone call was about a woman from Karachi who had abandoned her family and married a Kashmiri man who she had met on Orkut, a social media website in 2008. The marriage took place in June 2009 and after three months of marriage, she became a victim of regular violence at the hands of her husband, Abdullah Danish Shervani who is from Paraypora Srinagar. Kamla Bhasin had urged Nadiya to help Mehnaz.
Nadiya soon met Mehnaz at a private school in Srinagar where she teaches. Mehnaz narrated her ordeal to Nadiya and explained how brutally she has been going through the abuse. In the meantime, Danish had stopped visiting her at the residential quarters of Kashmir University. With no friend in Kashmir, Mehnaz opened up to Nadiya over the time and Nadiya would accompany her to Hospital for treatment and check-ups during her pregnancy. In the past, she had undergone a miscarriage, and right now she has two children. Danish during the seventh month of Mehnaz’s pregnancy physically tortured her – Mehnaz gave birth to another baby on 25 December 2017 who later died after a month. During all these years Mehnaz underwent a severe mental and physical torture.
On 1st February 2018, Menhaz formally lodged an FIR (19/2018 US 498-A RPC – under 308,506) against her husband at Nigeen police station and the case is going on in the Court. In the recent development, Danish on the twitter account of India’s home minister during his Kashmir visit ‘alerted’ of ‘Security Breach’ which came into headlines, presumed to malign Mehnaz and make her stay in Kashmir more vulnerable. As per Mehnaz, Danish had alleged her of being a Pakistani spy. Soon after this Mehnaz wrote an open letter to Vice Chancellor Kashmir University, IGP Kashmir, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar etc in which she narrated her ordeal.
In 2016, 2000 cases of domestic violence were registered in Kashmir. Keeping in mind that this is one of the most under-reported crimes in the country, Mehnaz’s story is no different. Mehnaz was caught in the vicious cycle of abuse for 9 years till she finally decided to speak out to secure the future of her kids. And this is what makes Mehnaz’s story different – the courage to speak out in a country where so many women silently live with abuse every single day.
Mehnaz’s courage needs to be acknowledged and applauded because it is so hard to break the silence around domestic abuse, which is so often brushed off as ‘ghar ka muamla’. If you know any woman facing violence at home, behind closed doors, We request you to support her in speaking up because that is the first step in putting a stop to violence against women.