The violence in Kashmir has thrown up a new generation of isolated, aggressive, defiant children.
At least 16 per cent of children in Kashmir are aggressive and 22.3 per cent have isolated themselves. Over all 10 per cent of the child population is showing signs of behavioural changes like, impatience and irritability.
Five per cent of them have lost all the hope or they do not have trust. They find themselves without hope and love in the current situation.
This alarming conclusion has been drawn by a study conducted by Medecines Sans Frontiers, an international humanitarian aid organization in its survey: “Kashmir: Violence and Mental Health.”
This study was conducted in the two rural blocks of Kralpora in border district of Kupwara and Beerwah in Budgam district in Central Kashmir.
Since 1990 when the secessionist violence swept across the Kashmir valley and tough counter-insurgency steps started, “women and children have been the worst victims,” according to Dr AG Madhosh, a retired professor of Kashmir University, who had compiled a study “Children and Women Under Armed Conflict” in 2001.
Madhosh’s study had placed the number of orphans at 52,000. “That was a random survey,” he conceded. Now his NGO, “Voluntary Agency Network” (VAN) in collaboration with Hyderabad based agency – COVA- Coordinating Organisation of Voluntary Agencies is doing a door to door survey.” The number of the orphans may cross 100,000.”
The children orphaned by violence or having a single parent are more prone to the behaviourial changes. The MSF survey has noted that 24.6 per cent children are afraid all the time. Fear has gripped their mindset. Other 8 per cent have taken to drugs or alcohol abuse, and 15 per cent were having sleepless nights.
All this is having severe impact on Kashmiri society, as they were also turning defiant. They were not having respect for elders. With broken homes, because of violence and elements of all pervasive violence has had effect on their studies too.
While 16.3 per cent children were having problems with studying, other 15.5 per cent were not attending school at all, despite being on rolls. With this kind of scenario, Kashmir is grappling with a problem of a bruised and disturbed new generation, says Dr. Arshad Hussain, a psychiatrist.
“It is a big problem”, Dr Arshad Hussain, who has done study on the child patients and their behavioural changes, said.
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