Over 2 Lakh orphans in IIOJK, reveals study

Srinagar, May 30 KMS): A study by Kashmir based Human Rights Organisation, International Forum for Justice and Human Rights JK, has revealed that an estimated population of orphans in occupied Jammu and Kashmir is 2,14,000.

The raging dispute over Kashmir rendered 55 percent of them as orphaned. The study titled “Orphaned in Kashmir— he state of orphans in Jammu and Kashmir” says that the report conducted in six districts of the territory reveals that 55 percent of the orphans lost one or both parents due to the conflict while 37 percent were orphaned due to the natural death of parents and remaining eight percent due to other reasons.

The six sample districts for the study were chosen by the rights group after consultation with state government. Among them, Islamabad, Kupwara and Baramulla represent high-intensity conflict districts, Poonch and Rajouri represent medium intensity conflict districts and newly created Ganderbal district represents a low intensity conflict district, the study says.

According to the 61-page report, the proportion of children orphaned due to conflict is highest in Islamabad (Anantnag) district of south Kashmir.

The study reveals that five percent of the orphans were either physically abused or intimidated. “Among the orphans attending schools, a large number said that the main distraction in school was that they had worries about their families (28 per cent), noise of explosions during conflict (19 percent) and intimidating presence of troops (13 per cent),” the report adds.

According to the survey, one-third of the orphans had faced emotional stress during the conflict.

While 38 per cent felt despair and skepticism about the future, 32 per cent said that their anxiety was triggered by sudden loud noises or seeing battle uniforms,” it says.

The child rights group has made number of recommendations for overall betterment of orphans in the state like formulation of child protection policy, setting up of child protection committees.

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