Abandoned Nepali wife appeals to Kashmiris for help
Mar 10, 2007 - 11:54:39 AM

Kathmandu, March 10 - A 34-year-old Nepali woman married to a man from Jammu and Kashmir has appealed to the Kashmiri community for help after the disappearance of her husband in Kathmandu.

Asiya Mohammad Kashmiri, a Nepali Hindu who converted to Islam about 15 years ago to marry Rayees Mohammad Kashmiri, issued a public appeal for help Thursday after her husband 'disappeared', leaving her and their teenaged daughter to fend for themselves.

Asiya says her husband 'disappeared' about three months ago after he formed a liaison with another Nepali Hindu girl.

When she confronted them, he moved out of their rented apartment in Lalitpur district without leaving any contact information, she says.

She tried to locate him for three months but her search drew a blank. Meanwhile, her situation grew desperate as she did not have any money and her landlord threw her out with her school-going daughter Sayera.

Her conservative Nepali parents have cut off all contacts with her after she married Rayees against their wish and converted to Islam, Asiya says.

Rayees came to Kathmandu 15 years ago from Naogaon in Srinagar after the insurgency in the north Indian state escalated.

Asiya says her husband left home after being picked up for questioning by Indian security forces but she doesn't know the details.

He was working as a salesman in a carpet shop in Lalitpur district but the owner of the shop, a Muslim, reportedly sacked him for mistreating his wife and daughter.

'We have been living on the streets,' Asia said in a public appeal in a local daily, asking the Kashmiri community in Nepal for help.

'We need help as we have nowhere to go.'

Abandoned wives and children are a common sight in Nepal, where women comprise over 50 percent of the population.

A local NGO, Forum for Women Law and Development, last year reported a high incidence of talaqs - divorces in the Muslim community - in the southern Terai plains.

It is fighting a legal battle on behalf of several Muslim women who were thrown out of their homes by their husbands who wanted to marry younger women.

Most of the women are barely literate and unable to support themselves.

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