Parveena Ahangar’s unassuming nature and calm demeanour does not betray the pain and agony that the Srinagar-based founder of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) is going through.
Ahangar’s son went missing in 1991. “For the last 20 years, I have been moving in and out of districts in Kashmir, with the hope that I will find my son somehow,” she said. “The police authorities blatantly labelled my son as ‘missing’ without paying any heed to my agony.”
Ahangar was one of the many panelists who addressed the conference on ‘Negotiating Spaces: Gender concerns in conflict zones’ organised by the Majlis Legal Centre during the weekend.
The two-day conference had women, who have been part of the political struggles, provide insights into the state of women trapped in conflict zones in the country.
Also addressing the afternoon session on the militarisation, insurgency and gender concerns in Kashmir was Dr. Inshah Malik, a scholar from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
“Owing to the patriarchal restructuring of the society in Kashmir, women are labelled when they demand equal rights,” said Malik. “In a region which has way too many stakeholders, the terms, private and public, are pretty much synonymous, for nobody can lead a life without the influence of the state violence,” she said.