Parveena Ahanger, the founder and Chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Person (APDP) Kashmir is recognised by BBC among the 100 most inspiring women of 2019, a list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2019.
The BBC list is focused on the question: “What would the future look like if it were driven by women?”
“Parveena is known as the ‘Iron lady of Kashmir’. Her teenage son disappeared in 1990, at the height of an uprising against Indian rule in Kashmir,” BBC observes.
Her son is one of the thousands of “disappeared” there – leading Parveena to set up the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). She says she has not given up hope of seeing her son again, with next year marking the 30th anniversary of his disappearance.
Parveena’s APDP is a key organisation in drawing international attention to human rights violations in Indian administrated Kashmir.
“The grief of losing my son to enforced disappearance inspires me to struggle for justice and accountability, and I aspire to work towards making the world a better place, especially for women. It is imperative that women’s issues are given prime importance in today’s world, especially for those living in conflict and war zones.” BBC quotes Parveena.
Parveena started the APDP in 1994 to provide support and mobilize family members of missing persons due to enforced disappearances and to put pressure on India’s government to investigate the estimated 8-10,000 cases of involuntary disappearances in Kashmir.
She won the Rafto Prize for Human Rights in 2017 for her “protests against enforced disappearances” and for demanding justice for victims of violence in Jammu and Kashmir. She was also nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
Aranya Johar, Susmita Mohanty, Subhalakshmi Nandi, Natasha Noel, Vandana Shiva, are the other Indians included in the list released by BBC last week.