Many Pakistani women living in Kashmir who were married to former militants demanded the government to deport them back to Pakistan as they don’t have any hope of getting Indian citizenship. The group of women said that the government has not granted them citizenship even after they have repeatedly pleaded the government. They request the government to declare them illegal immigrants and deport them back to Pakistan. They warned the government that if their requests are not heard, they will march towards the Line of Control (LoC).
There are more than 350 women from other side of the LoC, who had married Kashmiri men when these men crossed the border for arms training in 1990s and early 2000s and then returned to the Valley after 2010. In 2010, the Omar Abdullah government in Jammu and Kashmir launched a policy for return and rehabilitation of those people who had crossed the LoC between 1989 and 2009 but never been a part of active militancy. To benefit from the policy, they were asked to come back via Nepal.
One of these women, Saira Javed, says that they have suffered since they came here. Our husbands saw hope in the policy, but it was all a joke. Now, they want the government to deport them. Saira lives in Kupwara of northern Kashmir. She said that even their children are suffering because of their decisions.
In 2017, the J&K government released data which states that since 2010, 377 former militants along with 864 family members had returned from Pakistan via Nepal and Bangladesh since 2010.
Another woman, Bushra, who lives in Pattan of northern Kashmir says that they are living a dark life of hopelessness. The government neither grants them citizenship nor does it deport them. She said the Pakistani Embassy in New Delhi has many times written to the Indian authorities demanding that these women be allowed to visit their homes.
Two of these women, Somiya Sadaf and Shazia Aslam, had contested the recent district development council elections from Dragmulla in Kupwara and Hajin in Bandipora respectively. They were permitted to contest these elections but the votes given to them were not counted. The administration said that many people had complained questioning their citizenship, and that’s why they had to take the step.
In the past decade, some of these women have been divorced while some others suicided. All in all, these women have struggled to survive.