Anantnag, Indian-administered Kashmir – Women in Kashmir have suffered immensely as the conflict in the region continues.
Many have lost their husbands, sons or fathers. There are also around 1,500 “half-widows” who remain unaware of their husbands’ whereabouts.
“I have lost four sons. Three of them were rebels. The fourth took food to the rebels, and was killed in an encounter,” said Nabza Bano, an 83-year-old who lives in a small house in the Somdbraide village of the south of Kashmir.
Bano vaguely remembers the time when her sons died. She told Al Jazeera her life has become more miserable since her husband’s death three years ago. He died due to kidney problems.
Kashmir remains a pending dispute between two nuclear nations, India and Pakistan. Both countries have fought two wars over the region and more than 70,000 people have lost their lives in the past three decades.
Khurshi, the 85-year-old mother of Manzoor Ahmed, mostly remains silent inside her half-dark room. She is unaware of her son’s death.
Ahmed was in the Indian army and was killed in the Sunjuwan attack in the Jammu region in early 2018.
“She keeps asking about him and doesn’t know he is no more,” said Ahmed’s sister. “She keeps waiting for her son’s phone call.”
Arif Magribi Khan, a psychiatrist who also runs an NGO for patients with physiological problems in Srinagar, said they have “witnessed higher patient inflow after the 2016 unrest”.
“The basic cause is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When a woman loses her family member, the PTSD remains unattended for months which leads to more serious problem and becomes an uphill task to overcome,” said Khan.