Lying on a hospital bed in Srinagar with 96 per cent burn injuries, 30-year-old Saira Javaid mutters occasionally. “Pack the bags, pack the bags.” Her feeble voice is heard as she speaks in a semi-conscious state. Her husband is ready to pack the bags but has no where to go. Only last year, he had returned from Pakistan under the J&K government’s rehabilitation policy.
Frustrated by the “broken promises” of the government and a miserable life in the Valley, Saira tried to commit suicide by setting herself on fire. “My wife was forced to do this,” says Saira’s husband Javaid Ahmad. “We have been deceived by the government. They didn’t fulfil the promises they had made before we came back,” he says.
A mother of two daughters and a son, Saira is fighting for her life at Srinagar’s Sheri Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, for the last three days where doctors say there are little chances of her survival.
This is the second such case in the last two years when a family member of a former militant has tried to commit suicide after returning to the Valley from Pakistan under the rehabilitation policy. The families have been struggling in Kashmir to get basic needs. “Our children are not given admission in schools because we do not have residence proof. The government is not giving it to us,” says a former militant. Their families complain they are not even being given documents to go back to Pakistan.
“All of us who have returned to the Valley are facing different problems. The suicides and incidents like this will continue till the policy is not implemented properly. The government made false promises and deceived us. Death is better than this life,” says Ehsan-Ul-Haq who heads “Jammu and Kashmir Haqeeqi Movement”, a union of ex-militants who have returned to India.