Nearly a fifth of India’s reported human trafficking cases originate in West Bengal, and an established route takes girls from that state to Kashmir, where they face forced marriage. One such woman, Afsana, describes the deception that brought her to Kashmir and left her with no way out.
In Indian-Administered Kashmir, students at one public school struggle to learn in an overcrowded school with no electricity, no furniture, and only one bathroom. This is typical for schools in Jammu and Kashmir, the political hotbed and contested zone at India’s northern tip.
In a region where domestic violence often goes unchecked, police, health officials and women’s advocates say more married women are being torched by their husbands and in-laws. There was an upsurge in domestic violence in 2016, when a military-enforced curfew confined families to their homes for months.
Deadly protests that began in July have led to massive income loss in the Kashmir Valley, where most households rely on the wages of day laborers. The story of Mohammad Sultan is typical; his earnings have gone from the equivalent of $6 a day to perhaps $4.45 a week, partly because large construction sites, where he’d found regular work, were shut down as strikes ordered by militant groups prevented delivery of building materials.
There’s a serious shortage of factor, the best treatment for hemophilia, in the region, and many patients are given a risky alternative. A court ruling on the issue has had little effect, and factor is too expensive for many who suffer with the disease, which without proper care can result in death.
Amid pro-independence protests, violence and a curfew imposed by Indian police and other forces, dozens of “curfew schools,” equipped with borrowed or donated furniture and materials, are replacing regular schools that have been shuttered since early July. In community centers, mosques and private homes, volunteers — both experienced teachers and educated young people — instruct students.