In 1990, it was less than one pc. In 2006, figures swelled to 40 %
Alarming increase in divorce petitions filed by Kashmiri Pandit couples
By Rajesh Bhat
JAMMU, Thanks to the mass migration of 1990, there has been an alarming increase in the percentage of divorce petitions, filed by mismatched Kashmiri Pandit couples, in the Matrimonial Courts here during the past 18 years!.
Prior to the exodus from the valley, the number of such petitions from the community of over three lakh, was less than one percent whiles it touched whopping 40 percent mark of the total divorce petitions filed in the courts here last year.
According to the figures available from the Matrimonial Court of Jammu and Kashmir, during the initial years of migration and when the community began to pick up the threads of life, the percentage of such petitions was just 12 . Out of the total 250 divorce petitions filed in the State in 1995, 30 applicants were Kashmiri Pandit boys and girls who had sought separation from each other. In 2001, the total number of divorce petitions that came before the Court was 976 , of which KPs accounted for 300 (30 percent).
The figures suggested unprecedented increase during the corresponding years, as in 2002, out of the total 600 divorce petitions filed in the State, 200 were from Kashmiri Pandit youth in the age group of 25 years to 40 years. Since 2002, the percentage is further scaling up, as last year, it was an alarming 40 percent petitions filed by the migrant community youth, mostly by the Pandit women, a Court official while sharing the figures said.
There has also been a mention of the increase in the divorce rate amongst the community, in a detailed report submitted by J&K Centre for Minority Studies (CMS) to the State Government last year.
In its report on the impact of migration on the socio-economic conditions of Kashmiri displaced people, submitted by retired IAS Officer M L Kaul, who headed CMS, several socio-economic factors have been mentioned as the major reasons for the increase in the divorce rates amongst the migrant community.
The CMS, while quoting Mr S K Jamwal, who headed the Matrimonial Court, said that the Pandit community accounted for few cases of divorce prior to the exodus. But the impact of the migration was such that the filing of petitions for seeking legal separation has been increasing, as the main reason for the same was incompatibility.
The KP women are mostly seeking divorce from such husbands who are either unemployed or addicted to drugs or don’t match their social status, the CMS Report said, while quoting few cases wherein KP women have moved Court citing these three main reasons.
While in some cases, the Courts have delivered the judgments, in most of the cases, an attempt is being made by the Judges for the rapprochement or helping through counseling to iron out differences amongst the couples seeking separation, the Officials said. The elders in the community are disturbed by this trend. In the absence ( or destruction) of the joint family system, through which elders intervened constructively to sort out problems, the couples, unable to make minor adjustments, find they are unable to settle certain differences.
The Sociologists are of the opinion that after the mass migration, several couples rarely shared private moments and often did not develop physical or emotional bonds. The Sociologists believe that the alarming increase in the inter-caste marriages amongst the community could be another factor for mal-adjustment that force the community youth to get separated after the initial years of marriage. Further, it is extremely difficult to adjust in new cultural set-up. Prior to migration, very few would go for inter-caste marriages, hence there was neither any complaints of maladjustment nor rushing to the Matrimonial courts. Since migration came with so many miseries, the community youth were forced to adjust into new cultural set-up, although unsuccessfully, the Sociologists say.
They further view that the alarming situation was also due to the separation of the spouses for job purposes as well as tensions due to the decrease in the income of households. Such incidents, Sociologists say, have also led to serious rifts in the KP migrant families.
The top Doctors from the Community, including Dr K L Choudhary, who has been working on the fall-out of migration on the KPs, opine that due to the stressful conditions and lack of privacy, some of the youth have unknowingly turned impotents and their spouses later seek divorce on this plea.